iSMEStorage Cloud File Manager 2.06 now on App Store for iPad and iPhone

We’ve rolled out another update to our iPhone / iPad Cloud File Manager, iSMEStorage taking it to version 2.06.

Changes in this update include:

New Features:

– Added support for Windows Azure Blob Storage
– Added ability to zip local folder structures
– Added ability to cancel uploads, downloads or zips
– Defaulted to Apple video rendering for better video file output when uploading videos to Cloud Storage
– Added ability to download file from URL locally to the iOS device as well as to a Cloud
– Added top things to know about SMEStorage help section
– Added new splash screen for iPhone 4 devices

Fixes:

– Fixed Twitter crash bug when sharing files via Twitter
– Fixed blue screen bug when login failed on iPad
– Fixed Cloud File Manager refresh bug after uploading a file
– Fixed display of iPhone Syncs folder icon
– Display message if Location Services are off when trying to upload photos /videos

We believe we have the most fully features file manager for local and cloud files on the App Store and we will continue to think of innovative ways to improve it, and of course add support for more storage clouds.

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SME now supports the Google Storage Cloud

We’ve now added the Google Storage Cloud  to our Cloud Gateway so that users can use our clients and tools to manage their Google Storage files. These of course include our Windows Cloud Dashboard, Windows tooling, which includes a virtual Cloud Drive, Mac and Linux tooling, and also clients for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.

You can also use CloudDav, our ubiquitous WebDav layer over any cloud, to access your Google Storage files, or you can use our S3 compatible endpoint to use tools that support S3 compatible endpoints to manage your Google Storage files.

Currently Google Storage is in ‘preview mode’ from Google, which means they have not rolled it out completely yet and if you don’t have an account you can register interest. In the preview mode the capacity is up to 100 gigabytes per object and 1,000 buckets per account. Data replicated in multiple data centers across the U.S. and also within the same data center.

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OpenStack Summit and forthcoming Swift support in the SME Cloud Gateway

The OpenStack Summit took place in San Antonio last week. OpenStack is an open source project primarily put together by RackSpace. The OpenStack Advisory Board actually has 9 seats. Six are currently taken by RackSpace, Citrix have one, and NASA have the other, and the seats taken seems to be related to the most code contributed.

The summit was well attended, perhaps over 300 people were there, which is heady stuff indeed for a project that is only several months in development.

The interest we have is on the storage side of OpenStack rather than the compute side, as we intend to provide support for the OpenStack Swift framework within our on-premise Cloud Gateway appliance and encompass the API’s into our own Cloud Storage API’s as we have with other cloud storage providers.

Swift is a sub project of OpenStack and provides a highly scalable redundant unstructured data store. Swift is 5 separate services, object, container, account, auth and proxy. Although each of these can be scaled separately, in practice they run together.

Never heard of Swift? it’s the underlying distributable object store that supports RackSpace Cloud Files. It’s akin to Amazon’s S3 implementation but unlike implementations such as Eucalyptus, which clone S3 API’s, but are not sponsored by Amazon, openStack and Swift has RackSpace firmly onboard, and have proven scale.

As Swift is used by Rackspace Cloud Files. Swift RackSpace claim it is production-ready code that is scalable to massive levels (100-petabyte clusters and 100000 requests per second). Swift sacrifices C for A and P from a CAP theorem perspective. Although most operations happen synchronously consistency is sacrificed in failure scenarios.

From our perspective we see enterprise users of our on-premise Cloud Gateway appliance expressing interest in SMEStorage supporting this. As with our S3 API endpoint support the gateway will overlay a more traditional file store on top of Swift layered with the business functionality we provide in our Organisation Cloud, virtual drives and clients for Mac, Windows and Linux, and rich mobile clients for iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, as well as value added features such as Webdav support.

If you are interested in Swift integration with our Cloud Gateway Appliance drop us an email.

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ExtJS Storage enabled Portlets – integrated with Google Docs, Amazon S3 + 10 other storage clouds

We’ve recently been doing some integration work with a large engineering company that has been focused on integrating multiple clouds with their Portal framework which in this case is Ext JS. Ext (pronounced “Eee Eks Tee”) is a JavaScript library for building interactive web applications using techniques such as Ajax, DHTML and DOM scripting. It has gained quite a following and is a popular choice for a Portal infrastructure.

The main advantage of that ExtJS has over other frameworks is its component-oriented model which leads to a consistent and easy to use API to build widget-based interfaces. It also now features integrated touch sensitive web apps using HTML5 which makes it an even stronger Ajax tools and Portal framework

The integration that we have done for the engineering company is going to be  key to enabling data access for storage clouds when users sign into the Portal. Clouds such as S3, and internal storage clouds, will be mapped into the on-premise SMEStorage Cloud Gateway appliance. Authentication is being handled by integration with an internal identity management server so that single sign-on can be accomplished.

The real power of the on-premise appliance and the rich API is that not only can users use the Portal to access files, they can also use the white label version of the Windows / Mac / Linux desktop tools , and also the Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, IPad mobile clients.

If you are interested in integrating ExtJS with an on-premise Cloud Gateway then please contact us

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Coming Soon: Access your Cloud Files from any cloud using S3 API

We’ve been surprised by the huge success of the work we did with CloudDav which enables you to access your Cloud Files from any of the storage clouds we support using WebDav, even if the underlying Storage Cloud itself does not support it.

With that in mind we’ve been working on something even more innovative and that is enabling you to access any of your Cloud Files using the Amazon S3 API. This will mean that you will be able to use existing Amazon S3 tools, scripts etc that support the ability to specify your own endpoint to directly access Cloud Storage on Cloud such as Google Docs, DropBox, RackSpace, SkyDrive etc. We think this will prove just as useful to many developers, individuals and companies as our CloudDav layer has been.

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Use your Google Apps Cloud Email to store, share, and manage files

One of the most requested features from users was to support Google Apps email accounts for file storage as we do with GMail. To that end we have upgraded our base Gmail provider so that it provides support for storing  files on Google Apps on email as it also does with normal email accounts.


It’s is very easy to sign up and start using this:


1. Register at SMEStorage


2. When you have registered, login and enter the Gmail account username and password you wish to use


gmail-account-info1

3. Choose whether to save the username and password or enter it each time you use SMEStorage on a session basis.


gmail-account-info-2

4. You can now upload files through SMEStorage to Gmail. At this point you can choose to encrypt the files using a private encyrption key that only know (it is not save).


gmail-upload

5. You can see these file in SMEStorage with a ‘G’ to designate they are stored on Google


file-manager-2

6. If you now click on the file you can download it, get a unique url for it, or, as this is an image file, you can choose to view it, or edit it with Picnik. If the file was an MP3, you chould choose to stream it and listen to it from the browser, or if was an office file you could choose to view or edit it via Zoho online office. You can also decide to make the file a ‘public file’ which will result in the file being able to shared via RSS or Facebook, or you can set workflow rules against the file.


download

6. If you login to you email account you will see the file


gmail-view

7. If you view the individual email you will see file details. The filename becomes a subject in the email so it makese files easy to locate if you are using GMail search tools.


gmail-view-2

You can also use other SMEStorage client tools to work with your application including windows tools, a Firefox plug-in, iGoogle and iPhone web applications etc.

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Back up your contacts to the Cloud(s)

As part of some new changes on the SMEStorage web platform (more of those in the next post) we have introduced contacts as data that you can back up to the cloud platforms we support.


In the SMEStorage explorer bar you will now see a Contact root Node:


contactexplorer


When you click on this node you will see two new icons in your SMEStorage explorer Bar:


contactbar


The first icon gives you the ability to backup contacts from over 50 email and social sites that provide contacts:


contact-providers


Once your contacts are imported (and you can back them up to any cloud that we support (which includes Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, Box.net, Gmail-as-a-Cloud, Email-as-a-Cloud, FTP-as-a-Cloud, MobileMe, and any WebDav enabled cloud) they are stored as VCard files, and as they are treated as files you can mark them as favourites, share them over email, or Twitter etc.


You can also edit each contact and add extra information or more fields:


editcontact


Once your contacts are imported you can create contact groups and sub groups and organise your contacts. All your contacts and contact groups are integrated into the site so if you want to share files over email or from business groups when you start typing the first letters your contacts will popup for your to insert.


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What happens to the data when an online storage site closes?

There was an interesting post on PC World recently that asks the question “What happens to the data when an online storage site closes?”. After all two of the main reasons for offline storage are for backup and for access.
What we are starting to see happen in the world of online storage is consolidation and of course the non sustainability of ‘free’ business models. As the article states, “Online storage services that have announced closings in the past ten months include big names in tech: AOL (Xdrive and AOL Pictures), Hewlett-Packard (Upline), Sony (Image Station), and Yahoo (Briefcase). Plenty of lesser-known online storage firms also have kicked the bucket, including Digital Railroad and Streamload MediaMax, which turned into The Linkup.”

One of the reasons we never used proprietary storage services for SMEStorage is that, ultimately, it is very difficult to keep up with the big guys in terms of price. Just look at Amazon. They are the 1oo pound gorilla of being able to sell at a high volume for low margin.

At SMEStorage we have concentrated on providing interoperability with best-of-breed Storage providers and building value services over and above this. For example things such as clients for different platforms, integrations with the best-of-breed Web 2.0, Desktop and social media tools. Innovations such as Email-backup-to-storage, and the ability to move data about from one storage provider to another. Or even have a real-time Cloud Data Backup which, if the primary provider disappears, will have kept the data in sync and available with a secondary provider. Key to this is that you own your data, not us.

If you are using our free Amazon S3 service we give you 250MB, but even using these you are free at any time to export it to any other provider you want at any time, including our other free services such as email-as-a-cloud or gmail-as-a-cloud, but of course you still own the account and therefore the data.

We believe that the most valuable thing is your data and we will keep doing all we can to help you keep it safe, accessible, and available.

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Twitter File link sending added to SME

You will notice a new option when you click on a file in the SMEStorage web platform. This is the option to send a file link with comments to Twitter.


To enable this There is a new option underneath the “My Account” link on the sidebar call “Integrations”. You can enter your Twitter account details here. Once you have done this you can use Twitter also to be notified by direct message of any files shared to you from business group shares workspaces that you have setup.



twitmessage


This of course supports all the underlying file storage providers that we support which include Amazon S3, Mosso Cloud Files, Gmail as a cloud, Email as a Cloud, FTP as a Private Cloud, and Box.net, and of course a mixture of these.

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