Accessing SkyDrive from your iPad with iSMEStorage

Despite all the storage services out there, and I include Google Docs, Amazon S3, Box.net, and DropBox, in these, Microsoft SkyDrive takes some beating. For starters you get a whopping 25GB of free storage, and with the recent Office Live integration, you essentially have the ability to create and edit documents.

Just as with Google Docs, we see a lot of business users use SkyDrive as well as individual professionals / consumers. Like the other cloud platforms we support, we add a lot over and above what you get from Microsoft SkyDrive if you use this with the SMEStorage Cloud Platform.

There has not been an App that supported SkyDrive on the iPhone until we released iSMEStorage, and there has not been an App that allowed you to use your 25 GB of file storage on the iPad until we enhanced iSMEStorage to support the iPad. We’ve put together a video demo below so you can see for yourself.

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iSMEStorage Cloud Storage Virtualisation App for iPad is in the App Store !

iSMEStorage 1.40 update has been approved by Apple and brings with it support for the iPad and IOS 4.

iSMEStorage for iPad enables you to seamlessly access multiple cloud storage services using only the iPad. Files are displayed in a Virtual Cloud File System (VCFS) and can be managed using directly using the iPad. Visually each Cloud Provided in the file system is now distinguishable by the relevant cloud logo.

Cloud Storage Services supported include Google Docs, Amazon S3, MobileMe,  SkyDrive, Live Mesh, Mezeo, Rackspace Cloud Files, Box.net, Gmail (GDrive), Email-as-a-Cloud, FTP Clouds, and also any cloud accessible via WebDav.

Files from all Clouds can be opened within SMEStorage and saved locally or can be opened in any other application that has support for document sharing. This means you can office docs from any cloud in Documents-to-Go or QuickOffice for example.

The Application has many business and collaboration features and you can check out a video of the iPad application below.

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SME enhance Amazon S3 RRS Bucket and file conversion with visual identification of RRS files

As per our prior blog post, we added support for users who use Amazon S3 with their own keys to be able convert Amazon S3 buckets and files to Amazons new Reduced Redundancy Storage, which can results in some big savings from a cost perspective.

Since then, we’ve had lots of our individual professional and business users want two extra things:

1. The ability to convert individual files

2. The ability to visually see which files are RRS S3 files.

In the last revision of our platform which was upgraded last night we added both these features. If you add files to the Cloud Clipboard, you can now choose to have these processed as RRS files. This is done from My Account->Providers->Amazon S3-Settings.

Once converted the files look different from normal Amazon S3 files which have the Amazon logo as they have a small red identifier in the bottom left corner to mark them out as RRS files. You can of course choose to convert individual files or buckets back from RRS to S3 any time you wish

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Using the SME Data Access Platform with Cisco Smart Storage

Cisco Smart Storage is a high-speed network attached storage solution that is affordable for SMB’s as well as the Enterprise. Cisco Smart Storage supports WebDav which means you can easily take advantage of the SMEStorage Data Access Platform to access and manage your files.

Cisco SMart Storage supports  WebDAV which means the  the Cisco Smart Storage NAS user will be able to access shared folders from SMEStorage Data Access Clients, such as the Web, Operating Systems, and of course iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and (soon) Android clients.

To work with Cisco Smart Storage with SMEStorage you first need to enable WebDav support. This can be done from Network Services->Web Server from the Smart Storage config screens.

Next you need to setup WebDav access rights for shared folders.You can do this by choosing Network Shares->Shared Folders and click WebDav Access control in the Action column, and then setup the access rights for the folder.

Now you are ready to configure your Smart Storage to be accessed from SMEStorage. First sign up for a free account and choose the “WebDav compliant storage” package. Once you have registered, log in and you can then enter your Smart Storage WebDav details.

Once completed you can access your SmartStorage anywhere in the world via the web, use sophisticated Windows sync tools to sync files from your desktop, access your storage with rich business and collaboration functionality from your iPhone / iPad and BlackBerry, and have access to much more tools and clients that can be found on our Tools page. Additional to this you can also upgrade to a multi-cloud account to see an aggregated view of all your public and private cloud storage files. For example you could see all your Cisco Smart Storage, Google Docs, and Microsoft SkyDrive files all from one Virtual Cloud File System (VCFS).

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View your Docs from S3, RackSpace SkyDrive + more via Google Viewer with SME on iPad, iPhone, Android

Google has rolled out support for Google Viewer on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. This is great news for SMEStorage users as the web version of SMEStorage is integrated with Google Viewer which means you can now easily view PDFs, .ppt, .doc and .docx files within the browser without downloading the file to the device.

SMEStorage Virtual Cloud File System (VCFS) works directly from the web on these devices, and is integrated with Google Viewer. This means that using Google Viewer to view supported files will work for all the Storage Clouds we support which include Amazon S3, RackSpace, MobileMe, Box.net, Google Docs, GMail, Mezeo, SkyDrive, and Live Mesh.

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Linux Cloud Drive Update

Beta 4 of the Linux Cloud Drive will be released soon. This will add the ability to share the Linux Cloud Drive as an SMB/CIFS resource via Samba to networks that can mounts SMB/CIFS shares such as windows.

This provides a very easy mechanism to share clouds mounted via the SMEStorage Cloud Gateway to multiple network resources. Many public storage clouds can be shared this way, such as Amazon S3, Google Docs, RackSpace CloudFiles, MobileMe, Mezeo and many more. Importantly, SMEStorage also supports WebDav Resource endpoints which give companies an easy way to share legacy resources within a cloud files system environment directly from the desktop or command line.

The Linux Cloud Drive beta 4 will be released before the end of May.

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How to build your own Private Cloud / Sharepoint replacement using Openfiler and SME

There are many ways to design and build an internal Private storage cloud. The components that you need are:

1. Some form of  Network Attached Storage
2. Some form of File Server to enable access to the files
3. Other Data Access or entry points dependent on the access type required

SME provides a data access gateway with rich data access points to files that are stored on the cloud. Our SaaS offering is multi-tenant and can be used with many clouds, such as Google Docs, Amazon S3, Microsoft SkyDrive, RackSpace Cloud Files etc. It can also be used with Private Cloud Storage through the use of FTP, WebDav, or any REST based Cloud API which can be added into our multi-cloud API in under a week.

SME acts as an enabler for richer features and functions of other storage clouds or storage file systems, providing rich tooling, clients and solutions such as our Cloud File Server.

We think of ourselves as  a data access solutions provider. Storage is getting more commoditised by the day and we believe that it’ what you can do with your files and storage that provides the real value.

Aside from the multi-tenant hosted version of SME we also provide SME as an appliance which can run in-house as an enabler for rich access and solutions for storage platforms.

This blog post will describe how easy it is to be build out your own Private Cloud using OpenFiler, an operating system that provides file-based network-attached storage and block-based storage area network, and SME (and you can use either the SaaS hosted edition or the appliance).

Openfiler supports:

  • CIFS/SMB support for Microsoft Windows-based clients
  • NFSv3 support for all UNIX clients with support for ACL protocol extensions
  • NFSv4 support
  • FTP support
  • WebDAV and HTTP 1.1 support

Combining OpenFiler with SME  enables your internal files to be available on all the SME supported devices (web, windows, Mac, Linux iPhone, Blackberry etc) plus the features of the Organisation Cloud platform which enable a powerful File sharing / File access / Collaboration / Intranet/  Sharepoint type platform.

Below are the step by step instructions  to enable Openfiler NAS storage access via the SME platform.

1. Download Openfiler form http://www.openfiler.com/community/download/ For this exercise we downloaded the open filer  VMware image

2. Add a SCSI drive to the VMware Image instance

3. Start the Openfiler VMware Instance and note the browser url

4. Open your browser and login default username/password is openfiler/password

5. Add a volume group and volume in openfiler

6. Enable HTTP / WebDAV server service

7. Add SME to access the openfiler in Network Access configuration

8. Create a share for the volume you created

9. Allow RW access and Public guest access(though this can be configured with security) on WebDav protocol from SME on the share

10. Make sure you can access the shared folder via http using your public ip address

11. Go to StorageMadeEasy.com and add the shared folder as  a webDav provider

12. If you have existing files in Openfiler then you can sync them now or anyother time.In this case we don’t have any files to sync.

13. Go to the SME File Manager where you can see OpenFiler has been added

14. Now you can use the full functionality of the SME platform and Cloud access tools using OpenFiler as the backend storage provider

In summary we’ve shown how to setup OpenFiler to work with Storage Made Easy. In a future post we’ll show how SME can be used to automatically sync files to Amazon S3 or Google Docs (or other clouds).

As outlined in introduction to this post, Storage Made Easy can be used as an onsite appliance with OpenFiler rather than the hosted model being used. If this is of interest to you then please contact us.

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