SME has added support for 2 new Clouds: SugarSync and Ubuntu One Cloud

We’re happy to announce support for two new Cloud Providers that can be added, managed and governed from SMEStorage free, Personal or Business Account. These are SugarSync and the Ubuntu One Cloud. Both Clouds are available immediately and can be added to accounts from the web, mobile, or desktop clients.

The Ubuntu One Cloud and the SugarSync Cloud both provide 5GB free of storage and can be added from the your personal DashBoard.

SugarSync UbuntuOne SMEStorage

As with all Clouds added to a SME account,  these Clouds can be used with the SME Desktop clients (Windows, Mac, Linux), Mobile Clients (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone) and Protocol Adaptors (CloudDav, CloudFTP, S3 API).

The Clouds are also available for immediate use for business users within the SME Cloud File Server.

 

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Cloud federation and governance will dominate in 2012

It’s seasonally topical to write a blog post that will draw a close to the old year with some predictions for the New Year, so read on for a post that fits with that trend…

2011 has been an eventful year for SMEStorage. On the business side we have always been a privately owned self funded company. We have never been VC backed and we’re profitable and have needed to be to be self sufficient. To enable us to expand the founders took a decision to raise some money to enable the company to continue to grow and expand the company. To this end Vehera, the owning entity of SMEStorage sold a small amount of equity enabling Vehera to raise a million dollars to fund the companies push for 2012. This will give the ability to add some more staff to enable us to grow the opportunity we see for our technology with ISP’s and the Enterprise.

On the Technology front we continued building out our support for Cloud’s resulting in SMEStorage now supporting over 35 Storage and SaaS Clouds. We also released a native Windows Phone Client,and also the first versions of Mac and Linux Cloud Tools and we enhanced our native browser plug in’s with support for Google Chrome and Safari. We also enhanced our iOS App for iPhone and iPad many times over the course of the year as well as releasing a native Android client for Phones and tablets. In addition to all of this we also improved our core offering with a myriad of new features which included adding protocol adaptors that exposed Clouds mapped to SMEStorage over WebDav, FTP or the Amazon S3 API, even if the underlying Cloud does not natively support these protocols.

So what for 2012, well, firstly we’ll continue to add more services that can be federated and managed. Shortly we’ll be announcing support for SugarSync, and the UbuntuOne Cloud. We’ll also be adding services less traditionally associated with file stores. The first of these will be BaseCamp, which will be followed by some CRM SaaS services and we have in mind another project / collaboration SaaS tool.

We’ll also be adding even more Cloud governance and e-compliance features. If your interested on our take on Cloud Sprawl and governance please see our prior blog post on this subject.

We intend to push out our revised Cloud Appliance in early 2012. This will give any customer the ability to have a hybrid Cloud governance application that deals with Cloud and local data and service federation that they fully control and own. Customers will be able to host this in their own data centre as it will be available as a VMWare, XEN or KVM appliance. As an alternative we intend to enable easy access to an Amazon EC2 based instance. We also intend to make it easy for resellers to get their ands on it and offer it as a value add to their own business.

It’s our firm belief that with the greater adoption of Cloud, and the increasing array of Cloud Services that 2012 will be the year of Cloud Federation and governance as companies struggle to manage and control the Cloud services deployed in their organisation. We believe that with our advanced service features, comprehensive access clients, and Hybrid on-premise Cloud Appliance that we are well placed to help companies who struggle with these issues.

For general predictions, we’ll make just one, and that is that the “free lunch” is coming to an end. In a volatile economy services that offer “free” may look appealing, but all businesses need to make money to survive and free eventually needs to become paid, and companies need a solid business model to survive. Hoping to capitalise at some point on a large user base of free users is not a business plan. There is room for some element of freemium, we use it ourselves, but our belief is that it has to be underpinned by a solid business plan. If you’d like to read more about this, see this post which goes into a little more depth.

All that remains to be said is to wish you all a “Happy New Year” and we hope all your hopes and dreams are realised in the forthcoming year.

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Automating OpenStack Swift backup to Amazon S3

One of the interesting things you can do when you have added an OpenStack Swift Provider to an Account is to automate the backing up off data to another Cloud, something we call ‘Cloud Safe’. This means if the OpenStack Swift data is not available then you can access the data from the backup Cloud.

We’ll step through an example of how to automate the backing up of data from OpenStack Swift to Amazon S3.

First you’ll need an account that supports such a backup. For this you’ll need either a Personal Lifetime Cloud or an Organisation Cloud File Server Account, or you’ll need to be using the SMEStorage Open Cloud Platform Appliance.

Once you have mapped OpenStack to your Account you can proceed to the Cloud Dashboard to assign a backup Cloud Provider for OpenStack:

If you click on the “Add Cloud Provider” dialog you will be asked to choose whether you wish to add a primary cloud provider or a backup cloud provider:

Ensure you Select the backup provider radio button and also Amazon S3 as the cloud to be used for backup. Once you have done this you will be taken to a wizard to enter your Amazon S3 Details:

Once you have stepped through the wizard and completed adding your S3 account a sync task will be generated that will synchronise the existing data that resides on OpenStack with the Amazon S3 Cloud you just added. You can check on the status of this Cloud sync task from the Cloud Sync task link in the right sidebar after login from SMEStorage.com.

Once this task has completed your data is sync’d to S3. If you upload any new data a sync task will be created to also transfer this to S3. If you delete any data then it will be deleted from your primary cloud but the default action is not to remove it from your backup cloud, in the event you later wish to find such removed data.

This mechanism of “Cloud Safe” or Cloud-to-Cloud backup will actually work with any combination of Clouds that are mapped to your account.

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How make your Cloud Data public but still keep it private

Being able to share data publicly via a website is very attractive for lots of different reasons, especially when you want to give the widest possible reach to your data, from an internet search perspective.

However, there are times that you wish the data to be visible, but also be able to control who has access to it. We had a good example of this recently from an educational establishment who uses SMEStorage with their own FTP Server to make available course content publicly to remote learning students. They wanted the course data and titles of files to be available and entered into search engines to attract future  students, but they also wanted to be able to control access to the data so that only students who were enrolled on the course could download the content.

One of the features of the SMEStorage cloud Gateway is that it enables you to work with your cloud data but overlays certain features and functions that you may not get from your provider. One of these is encryption. If you upload your data to your storage cloud via SMEStorage then you can choose to add an encryption key which then encrypts the data with an AES encryption cipher (key) that you choose and which only you know. This is the key private key you then need to share with anyone who wants access to the files.

Lets look at the steps of this in practice:

1. Upload your data to your cloud via SMEStorage and choose to encrypt it. The key is not stored on the platform and is known only by you.

2. When the file is stored you will notice that in the Web File Manager it has a key next to it that notifies you it is encrypted.

3. If you now set this file to be public in the File Manager then it is stored in your public files page which is of the format http://www.storagemadeeasy.com/username/files.

4. If a user then clicks on the file that you made public but which you also encrypted then they will be asked to enter the encryption key before they can download the file.

This works above all file storage clouds that SMEStorage supports, such as Google Docs, SkyDrive, DropBox, Amazon S3 etc. It is a great way to be able to limit access to files but still make them available.

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