OpenStack now supported for SME Open Cloud SaaS Platform and Cloud Appliance

We are really pleased to announce that we have added OpenStack Swift object Storage support to the SME Open Cloud Platform. 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 have seen ISP’s and larger SMB users of our on-premise Cloud Gateway appliance expressing interest in SME supporting this, and we supply this as VMWARE Appliance (OR XEN, KVM) or as a dedicated hardware appliance for smaller companies who wish to embrace their own private Cloud infrastructure.

As with our S3 API endpoint support SME will overlay a more traditional file store on top of Swift layered with the business functionality we provide in our  Cloud File Server, which includes virtual drives and clients for Mac, Windows and Linux, and feature rich mobile clients for iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, as well as value added features to Swift such as Webdav and FTP support.

Setting up Swift with SME is easy. First you need to add a new Cloud Provider and then the Cloud Wizard will be invoked. The first step is to enter your OpenStack details:

When entering the endpoint URL you should be sure to include the Port. An example URL is: http://<IP Address>:11000/v1.0.

Next you will need to choose which containers you want to work with and which should be the default container for any uploads to smart folders.

Once you have done this you will be ready to start the meta-sync which pulls in and caches all the information about containers and files.

If you have any issues connecting please refer to this advanced post on using SME with OpenStack 1.60 and SWAuth.

Once complete you will be able to access/amange your OpenStack files from the SME Web clients,  as well as using a Cloud Drive on Windows, Mac or Linux, and mobile clients for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, and  the plethora of other tools and clients that SME provides. We’v e posted some screenshots below of this.

Web File Manager

iOS OpenStack

Android OpenStack

Firefox Plug-In OpenStack

Chrome OpenStack Plug-In

Mac Cloud Drive OpenStack

The OpenStack Swift API’s also get embedded for use within our own feature rich multi-cloud API framework in which we add many business driven features.. You can find details about that on our developer page

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SME now supports Amazon Cloud Drive

We’ve now added support for Amazon Cloud Drive as a Cloud Storage Provider that can be used with SMEStorage.

Amazon providers every Amazon customer, even new customers without purchases,  5 Gigabytes of online storage. Customers in the US, who have purchased at least one digital music album on Amazon get, 20 Gigabytes of extra space for the first year. Paid Storage plans start at 20 Gigabytes and go up to 1000 Gigabytes. Each Gigabyte costs $1 per year with no additional costs (ie. no data transfer rates that are normally charged with the use of storage such as Amazon S3).

Let step through adding the Amazon Cloud Drive to your account:

1. First sign up for a new Amazon Account. Even if you have an Amazon Account it can be worth separating your main Amazon account from your Storage Account as Amazon does not provider separate token authentication for Cloud Drive, so the details you use will be the same details you use to login into Amazon, and you may wish to keep these private.

2. Once registered you will be taken to the Cloud Drive home screen, but it is important that you at least attempt to upload a file so that you can agree to the Amazon Terms and Conditions of Cloud Drive (if you are interested, you can review the terms and condition here).

3. Once you have done this your Amazon Cloud Drive will be ready

4. You can now either choose to add the Amazon Cloud Drive to your existing SMEStorage Account (got to My Account->Providers tab and choose “Add new Provider‘ Link) or you can sign up for a new free SMEStorage account. In either case you will need to enter your Amazon Cloud Drive authentication details at the first step of the wizard.

5. After your authentication has been verified you will be required to sync your meta data to create your cloud view within SMEStorage.

6. Once this has completed your CloudDrive files will be mapped and accessible via SMEStorage.

7. If you use the files via our Web Portal then you get all the integrations that are available to all clients such as integration with Zoho office for editing office docs, with Google Viewer for viewing files, ScribD for viewing PDF files, and Picnik for editing images.

8. All other SMEStorage clients will also be able to use with the Amazon Cloud Drive. These include, our Firefox Plug-In, Chrome Extension Plug-In, iPhone/iPad client, Android client, BlackBerry client, Windows Cloud Tools + Virtual Drive, Mac Cloud Tools + virtual Drive, Linux Cloud Tools + Virtual Drive.

Some examples of Clients using the Cloud Drive can be seen below:

iPhone Client

Firefox Client

Mac Client


Free Windows Cloud Explorer

Windows Virtual Drive

UPDATE: This is an old Blog Post – Amazon now prevent access to Cloud Drive and it is no longer supported.

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Release of Cloud Backup Tool for S3, Google Storage, RackSpace, OpenStack and Eucalytpus Walrus

As well as updating our main site today, we also released a Windows Cloud backup / upload tool for the Amazon S3, Google Storage, and the RackSpace Cloud Files Storage platforms.

The Cloud Backup Tool also supports the Swift Storage framework as well as the Eucalyptus Walrus platform which enable users and ISP’s to implement their own private object storage cloud implementations.

We had many of our users who wanted a simple tool to upload large volumes of files from their windows desktop to clouds such as RackSpace, Google Storage and S3. They wanted such a tool to automatically check and update prior versions of files the next time they uploaded the same structure. It got to the point where we actually built such a tool for one of our customers that uses RackSpace and then we extended it for another customer that used Amazon S3. At this point we decided to broaden it to use other clouds and make it commercially available.

It is a fairly simple tool but it seems to fill a niche in that it can be used to get large volumes of files into the Cloud for these providers.

As we were getting so many requests for users who wanted to use private cloud implementations we decided to add in the support for these also, as both Walrus and Swift are basically the same API implementation as Amazon S3 and RackSpace Cloud Files with the exception of a user definable endpoint.

The Enterprise Cloud Backup tools is available to purchase from the SMEStorage website for $9.99 and works only on the Windows Operating System.

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Using Amazon S3 with the SME Cloud Gateway Appliance is now free !

From today, using your own Amazon S3 keys is not free ! Previously the only way to use Amazon S3 with SMEStorage was to sign up for the Individual Lifetime Cloud package which gives you access to up to 10 storage clouds in one virtual view, and also our comprehensive windows tools.

Amazon S3 includes support for buckets from all regions and also supports visual RRS and RRS conversion as well as managed file encryption, and the integration with services such as Zoho and Picnik for in-browser document  and image editing. We also provide a free Windows Cloud Dashboard to work with your files. Unlike other Amazon S3 tools our aim is to present a business overlay on top of Amazon S3 rather than a complete tech view that other tools and providers support.

SMEStorage Windows Cloud Dashboard

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Guide to creating a multi-OS shared Linux Cloud Drive with SAMBA using SME

SMEStorage provides a Linux cloud drive that can be mounted on the file system and then used as a normal drive. Samba allows file and print sharing between computers running Windows and computers running Unix. Samba sets up network shares for chosen Unix directories (including all contained subdirectories). These appear to Microsoft Windows users as normal Windows folders accessible via the network.

A SMEStorage Cloud Drive can be set up as a shared drive on a Linux file server allowing you to share it amongst many users on your network. This is useful if you want to share cloud resources from a single user account across many users.

Here is a step by step guide to configuring Samba and SMEStorage Linux drive. First, make sure you have installed Samba. Samba is included with most of the Linux distributions. For this we are using CentOS 5.5.

1. Make a backup of your /etc/samba/smb.conf file and then edit the smb.conf file (Make sure the workgroup is the same as the workgroup windows machines belong to.). It should have the following:

[global]
workgroup = WORKGROUP
encrypt passwords = yes
[smedrive]
comment = smedrive mount
path = /export/sme
read only = no

For further information on Samba configuration file please see http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/using_samba/ch06.html

2. SMEStorage Linux drive uses the open-source Fuse code and the out-of-the-box settings do not allow sharing in this manner. Therefore we need to  create a file /etc/fuse.conf with the following one line content and after we do that the machine needs to be rebooted for it to take effect.

user_allow_other

For further information on Fuse please see http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/fuse/index.php?title=Fuse.conf

3. Create the directory where we will mount the drive:
# mkdir -p /export/sme
# chmod 1777 /export/sme

4. Add linux and samba users:
# groupadd smeuser
# useradd -m -n -ppassword -gsmeuser smeuser
# smbpasswd -a smeuser

New SMB password:
Retype new SMB password:
Added user smeuser.
#
5. In SMEStorage Client select File →Advanced and check share your drive check box. Mount the SMEStorage Linux drive make sure the mount folder is /export/sme. By default SMEStorage mounts with the “allow_other” option enabled.







6. Start the samba services

# service smb start

Starting SMB services:                                     [  OK  ]

Starting NMB services:                                     [  OK  ]

#

7. Test the samba services.

8. If everything has gone correctly so far you can now mount the shared drive in windows and from the Finder in Mac OSX (using ‘Connect to Server->Go’) and any platform that supports SMB protocol

For windows make sure the workgroup is the same as defined in smb.conf file and you can ping the Linux machine.

9) Open a command prompt and run the command

net use t: file://localhost/smb/::172.16.195.161:smedrive /user:smeuser password

10. Open explorer you will see the drive appear in explorer







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