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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

All-in-One Gladinet Cloud Enterprise Installer

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is a self-hosted version of the Gladinet Cloud. You can install it on a server and you will have a self-hosted file sync, share and collaboration solution.  The solution is built on top of Microsoft Web Platform, including IIS, ASP.NET and etc. In the past, we ask users to install the prerequisites before installing the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise.

Now with the new Gladinet Cloud Enterprise all-in-one installer,  you can install everything from begin to end.

Here is a video.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Web-based FTP?

You may think FTP is old technology and replaced by cloud storage already. However, FTP is still widely used and widely distributed with IIS web server or Apache web server. Just the other day, saw some discussion on web based FTP, which is around whether it is possible to upload files to FTP server over a web browser.

The answer may be yes, but it is not FTP.

To get it to work, first the file has to be uploaded over HTTP/HTTPS to sit on the web server. After that, a FTP client has to be invoked to send the file to FTP server. It is  a two-leg operation to combine HTTP and FTP together.

Since there are two different stage of the operation, whether or not the backend storage is FTP server is not important, because the FTP client is not exposed to the end user. In this case, it can be completely replaced with better technology and newer HTTP/AJAX techniques.

So we are talking about Web-based FTP alternative solution. Welcome Gladinet Cloud Enterprise.

When FTP was invented, we didn’t see so many client device choices such as iOS and Android, and most importantly, the web browser. Nowadays, people have smart phones, have web browsers and web browsers are capable of HTML5 drag and drops. It is important to be able to support all the devices.

Also when there are files and folders at a central place, there is always a need for controlled access with permissions. Simple things like who can access what file and who can upload to what folder.

This is when Gladinet Cloud Enterprise comes in.

On one hand, it is similar to a FTP server in the sense of that it builds on top of file server, providing means to send/receive files over the Internet.

On the other hand, it is much more than a FTP server to support mobile devices, web clients, in addition to the traditional PC and Mac clients. It also extends the concept of team folder and permission control over to the remote file and folder access.

This in general falls into the FTP Server Replacement use case.

For more details, visit http://www.gladinet.com/CloudEnterprise/

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Take Care of Your Storage

We are currently in a cloud storage consolidation phase,  magnified by this week’s Nirvanix wind-down news. As I checked Nirvanix web site, the whole site is gone, and replaced by a single notice. This is not the first time we saw in this cloud storage field. First is ParaScale, then Cirtus and now Nirvanix.

All may be caused by VC pulling out. Not to elaborate and speculate on what happened, which could be anything and everything. Now as a user who is using cloud storage, what shall you do? 

Storage Decision

The first reaction is to revisit or plan for your storage decision. As it is clear by now, the pay-as-you-go cloud storage is owned by Amazon S3. Rackspace, Windows Azure, Google Cloud Storage, HP Cloud Storage, IBM (SoftLayer) cloud storage could all be contenders with very deep pocket to support themselves. So the first place to review is who is hosting your data and whether you have direct access to the data.

Application Layer

Just like when you had a Windows File Server, if the windows file server had a mother board issue, you can always take the hard-drive out and put it on a new file server and continue to run, you need to think about horizontal layers on top of your storage choices.

Many startups forced you to think vertically, because from the app at the  top to the storage at the bottom, it is like a black box to you. It may be time to start thinking about horizontal layers. You select your storage and then you select your application on top of the storage layer.

Gladinet plays at this application layer. If you have Amazon S3 storage, you can use Gladinet to access it, if you have xyz cloud storage, you can also use Gladinet to access it. In a sense, Gladinet is replaceable so it helps you to protect your storage. When you replace Gladinet with some other software, you may be losing features when accessing the storage, but you are not losing your data.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Building Your Own File Sharing Service on HP Public Cloud

Today HP Cloud Service published an article on how to build your own file sharing service on HP Public Cloud.

When it comes to file sharing service, people immediately think about dropbox and dropbox like functionalities. So what is new?

The interesting part is that the file sharing service is installable and self-deployable so you can install it on your HP Public Cloud account if you like to do so.

Control Data Location and Data Flow

When the file sharing service becomes an installable product, just as you can install Windows 2008 file  server, you control where you want your data to be and you also control the data path where the data flow from point A to point B.

It is a trust issue. HP is a brand you can trust and HP’s data center is a place you can trust to have your data securely put in.

Dedicated Instance for Security.

When you self-host and self-deploy a file sharing service, you know the underlying Windows Server, the SSL certificate and the DNS name associated with the instance are all dedicated instances for your solution. Unlike public online storage solutions, you don’t really know how your data is managed.

Continue to HP Cloud Service to read the full article.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Server File Storage Solution with Offsite Sync and Access

Here is a pretty common setup: Small businesses have an internal file storage solution, accessible to all internal devices and works great for users in the office. However, you would like users that are not in the office have the same kind of fast access, wherever they are and on any device.

You are looking for some kind of sync solution with a cloud service that doesn’t interrupt the existing local access behavior, while enabling remote access.

You have tried Office 365 with SharePoint. However, it doesn’t fit and you are still left looking for a solution.

You may hear some IT-old-timers still talk about using FTP or WebDav to enable remote access. You know those old technologies may be even harder to use than what you had with Office 365 and SharePoint.

Now looking at the Gladinet solution that truly sync local file server content to cloud storage services seamlessly, without interrupting the local users, while enabling remote access for out-of-office users.

Gladinet Solution

Gladinet Cloud File Server agent is the piece of software you need for the solution. Installed on top of your existing file server,  the file server agent can monitor the local folder changes and sync them out to cloud storage service.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Facilitate Easy Remote Access to File Server

If you are an IT admin working for a construction company, the title probably immediately grab your attention. Quite frequently, you have users working on various construction sites around the country and can be there for a while before moving to the next site.  Most of the time the users are in the middle of nowhere and rely on mobile 3G hotspot to access company file servers.

Pain Point

The user need to access various documents, such as construction drawings and Excel spreadsheets from the company file server. However, accessing it with  3G over VPN from the remote location, to ISP , then to the company file server is such a slow process that makes it very unpleasant to access those files.

Why it is Slow?

There are several factors that contributing to the slowness. First is the CIFS/SMB protocol used for shared network drive is a very chatty protocol, involving requests/acknowledgement many times over the transfer of a single file. With slow network and long latency, this delays the delivery of the file. Streaming files over HTTP/SSL is a much better way to deliver the files.

Second, the file needs to be fetched from the company, going to the ISP and then transfer to the remote site. The Internet pipe (bandwidth) between the company and the ISP may not be fast enough. It will be better to bring the file out of the company network, ready to be accessed remotely to cut down the company-ISP bandwidth bottleneck, also bring the files closer to the remote user.

Solution

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hybrid Local Storage, Cloud Storage Solution

You are a small business with anywhere between 3-50 employees. Most of the employees are in the same office, some are on the road or work from home. You need a file storage solution to accommodate file sharing and collaboration need.

Traditionally, the Windows File Server has served well in the local area network. With everyone map to the network share, you can do collaboration and file sharing with all the file locking support to avoid file corruption.

What about remote users? You don’t want to get into the VPN thing. First it is not easy to setup. Second, it is not easy for remote user to understand and use. Third, most user just want to use a web browser to upload/download files for light use. Connect VPN, connect to network share, just for modifying/viewing a couple files, that is too cumbersome.

Here is where a hybrid local storage, cloud storage solution comes in. You can either use Gladinet Cloud (with the File Server Agent component), or use the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise (without the File Server Agent) to achieve this.

Solution #1 – Gladinet Cloud, w/ File Server Agent.

With Gladinet Cloud, the default storage is cloud storage.  You will get a Gladinet Cloud Team account and immediately you have web browser access, windows client/mac client and mobile access. This is cloud storage with online access, 50% done.

Now you will install the File Server Agent to help connecting local folders on the file server to cloud storage and maintain replication in between. The end result is the local folder on the file server will be exposed to online access. now 100% done.

What about team collaboration and file locking?

In Gladinet Cloud, you can use Group Policy to turn on the distributed locking. with distributed locking, you can have local applications such as Microsoft word, excel lock the file automatically when editing. solve the team collaboration problem. Also local users continue to use the local file server network share, the file locking is provided by default from the OS.

Solution #2 – Gladinet Cloud Enterprise

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Delegate Administration

When you have a big team in Gladinet Cloud, such as 100+ users, you will need other team members to help you on administrative works.

In Gladinet Cloud, there are two different ways to setup delegate administrator.

1. Fully Privileged  Admin

You can grant team users fully privileged admin rule by adding them to the cloud administrators.

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2. Partial Admin

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Online Access to Your Active Directory Home Directory

In a local area network, the Active Directory Home Folder setting is a very convenient feature from Windows. The domain admin can set your home folder and map it to a drive letter. After that, you can roam around in local area network. Wherever you login, the home directory always following you, showing up as the drive letter on your Windows Desktop or Laptops.

Now, what if you want to extend that home folder feature to a more modernized way of accessing. For example, you want to access your home folder natively via a HTML5 web browser; what if you want to access your home folder from iOS and Android devices. You are familiar with online services such as dropbox and box and you wish to marry your online storage features with your Active Directory home folder.

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is the solution that can wrap the modernized online storage accessing methods around your Active Directory home folder and expose that to web browser access, Wide-Area-Network access and iOS/Android mobile device access.

Below is a video demonstrate how it is done with Gladinet Cloud Enterprise.

 

See Also

Online Access to Home Folder/Home Directory

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise with Active Directory

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise brings web browser access, mobile device access, online collaboration and file sharing capabilities to Windows Servers and the file server shares behind it. One of the most important feature is Active Directory integration. Not only does customers need Active Directory users integration so AD users can access the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise, they also want to access the file server shares natively with the AD permissions.

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise provides this important Active Directory integration feature, as shown in the video below.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise for Windows Server 2012

We are announcing the support of Windows Server 2012 for Gladinet Cloud Enterprise. In the past, the recommended server platform for Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is always Windows 2008 Service Pack 2 or R2. Windows Server 2012 support was experimental. Now it is fully supported.

The two server platform are quite different. For example, Server 2012 includes .NET framework 4.5, which works with ASP.NET 4.5. While on Windows Server 2008, you need to install .NET framework 4 and it works wit ASP.NET 4.

In a sense, Windows Server 2012 is a more complete Web Platform because the .net framework 4.5 comes with the server and ASP.NET 4.5 is just one step away from turning on inside the server manager.

Below is a video showing Gladinet Cloud Enterprise running on Windows Server 2012.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Windows Store App

Gladinet Cloud Windows Store App has been released for a while now. For those of you haven’t got a chance to try it out on a Windows Surface RT device or a Windows 8 Tablet device. Here is a video.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gladinet Cloud New Look and Feel 2013

Today we released a new version of Gladinet Cloud. The most obvious change is the support of new Themes. Now you have Blue, Gray, Classic themes to choose from.

Take a look at the following new video and compare to the legacy look and feel.

 

Now compare to the legacy look and feel. Both theme are available in the new release.

 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Move File Server Storage to Cloud

Here is a very common use case, as we received a lead from a potential customer:

“We are a small company and we want to evaluate moving out file server storage to the cloud. We are evaluating Amazon S3 as a solution and already have some storage configured.  Currently we have 3-4 file servers each with around 2-3TB data.

I would like to keep the changes to the users as small as possible (i.e. keep Windows Explorer as main interface).”

As we summarize this requirement:

  1. Customer wants to move local file server to cloud (Amazon S3)  
  2. Customer wants to keep the same user interface (Windows Explorer)

 

The Gladinet Cloud Team Edition and the included Gladinet Cloud File Server Agent is built for this use case.

Requirement #1 – Amazon S3 connectivity

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition is open for Cloud Storage Account integration. You can bring your own storage to plug-it-into your own Gladinet account.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Windows Store App Released

Two weeks ago, we released the Windows Phone Store App for Windows Phone 8. Now we are pleased to announce the release of Gladinet Cloud Windows Store App, which works on Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT, serving devices like Microsoft Surface, Lenovo IdeaTab and other Windows 8 based tablet/desktop devices.

You can get the app directly from Windows Store.

Login Screen

As usual, there is a login screen for the Windows Store App. If you are using the app to connect to your own Gladinet Cloud Enterprise instance, you can use the Access Point dialog to set it up.

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Cloud Files and Folders

After sign in, you will see your files and folders from your Gladinet Cloud account.

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Detailed File and Folder View

From the detailed view, you can share the file and folder, you can also put comments on the files and folders.

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Snapped View Support

Compared to other mobile platform, Windows 8 is unique in that it supports “Snapped View” to run two apps side-by-side. Below the Gladinet Cloud App is snapped to the left side of the screen, allowing opening files for viewing in the main area.

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Next Step

Go to www.gladinet.com and sign up for a Gladinet Cloud Team Account.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hybrid Cloud Storage Solution

When people talks about hybrid cloud storage solution, it typically means they want to keep using the existing file server. At the same time, they also want to replicate the file server data into cloud storage and make it available to the remote users.

Basically, the local employees will keep using the local file server. The remote users will be using the cloud storage. The local file server and cloud storage will be in sync. If the file is changed locally, it is uploaded also to the cloud storage so remote user can use. If remote user changes the file, the change will also propagate back to the local file server.

It serves many purposes. First the local file server and the cloud storage are like a backup system, backing up each other. Second, it is a VPN-replacement system, enabling remote users to access files without VPN. Third, it is an access system, it enables mobile users with iOS/Android and Windows Phone devices to access the files and folders.

Backup Backup local files to online cloud storage
VPN Replacement Remote user access files and folders directly from online cloud storage
Mobile Access All users can access files and folders from many device form factors, including iOS/Android/Windows-Phone

Friday, June 21, 2013

Self-Hosted Cloud Storage Solution

Enterprise may be the last to adopt Cloud Storage. Not because they don’t like cloud storage, but because they already taken care of a lot of functionalities the cloud storage brings.

For example, replication,  in order to run smoothly in case of a failed hard disk, enterprise has replication of data within the enterprise.

Another example, scalability, to make sure business runs smoothly with added head count, a lot of storage planning was done and a lot of existing storage capacity were idle, ready for expansion. 

The top two functionality – the replication and the scalability, are already taken care of. So what is the selling point of  a cloud storage like solution?

The answer goes to the functionalities that we are so familiar by now, the ability to access storage from any device, including mobile devices;the ability to access storage from web browsers;  and the ability to do sync, share and collaboration on top of the storage services. In short, it is quite often referred to as a dropbox-like solution, with security and on-premise deployment added.

Quite often, you will hear CIO saying, I don’t want dropbox in my company because it scatters company owned documents everywhere, but I like a dropbox-like alternative solution that is built on top of my existing on-premise enterprise storage solution, which I own and have control over where the storage is.

So this is the self-hosted cloud storage solution enterprise is looking for. And look no further, the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is the solution you are looking for.

In the following video, you will see that you can setup such a solution in 10 minutes.

Next Step

Go to the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise home page and check it out!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gladinet Android Client v2.6 Update

As part of the Gladinet mobile app enhancement and the focus on mobile device support, the Gladinet Cloud Android version 2.6 client was released. This release contains better application interoperability support and remote wipe capability.

Open In

From other natively installed application, you can use “Open In …” to select Gladinet and upload file from other application back to Gladinet Cloud.

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Remote Wipe

When a user’s account is deleted from Gladinet Cloud, the connected Gladinet Cloud application will clear its own cache and on device information.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Connect Your File Server to AT&T Synaptic Storage

There is a recent customer case. The initial lead comes in over the web form and read “I am looking for a solution to backup files using the GeoDrive to Synaptic Storage. Please contact me”.

For those of you who are not familiar with the terms, Synaptic Storage is AT&T Synaptic Storage, based on EMC Atmos cloud storage service. GeoDrive is an EMC product that present EMC Atmos storage with a drive letter.

After all, the customer is converted to a Gladinet Cloud user, satisfying his requirements, better than a GeoDrive can do. This document will discuss this use case.

The customer has several file servers that are Windows 2008 R2. These are file servers serving network shares to the 30-40 employees in the office. Customer wants to backup files and folders from these file servers to the AT&T Synaptic Storage.

The customer has an existing backup solution that is backing up to a co-location data center. The monthly bill for the backup was between $200-$300. By switching to AT&T Synaptic Storage and Gladinet Cloud, the cost is lowered to between $100-$150. It saves money for the customer and also gain the ability to access backup data from web browser, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. As compared to GeoDrive, GeoDrive can only map a drive letter for you and leave many other functionalities to the user to complete themselves.

To get this setup:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Windows Phone 8

As Gladinet continue to enhance mobile device and smart phone support. Today is another important milestone. The Gladinet Cloud Windows Phone 8 application was submitted to Windows Phone Developer Center and waiting for certification.

The Windows Phone 8 application has similar features to the Gladinet iOS and Android application. It is a native application written with Visual Studio 2012 and Silverlight for Windows Phone environment, comes with speed and packed with features.

1. Browse Files and Folders

After you sign in to the Windows Phone application, you will see files and folder tree and can browse the folder content.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Gladinet iOS App Update

With the latest Gladinet iOS app update, The iOS app greatly increased the interaction between a cloud-bound file and applications native to the iOS device.

1. From iOS App, Open file In Other App

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From the iOS App, you can use the disclosure button to click into the file details view. In the view, there is an “Open In …” button. When click on this button, the file will be downloaded and sent to locally installed application. In the picture, applications that are capable of opening PDF files will be presented to the user to open this document.

 

 

 

 

2. From Other App, send file back to Gladinet Cloud

From other iOS Applications, you can also do “Open In” if the application has an “Open In” option. For most of the file types, the Gladinet Cloud option is available. After clicked the “open in” option, the Gladinet Cloud application will be open, and a “Upload to Current Folder” button will show, allowing upload the document back into Gladinet Cloud.

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3. WebDav Support

For the iOS applications that support WebDav protocol, you can also mount Gladinet Cloud account as Webdav, allowing those applications to work with the cloud-bound files directly.

Next Step

Go to www.gladinet.com and sign up for a Gladinet Cloud team account. After that, download the Gladinet iOS application and try it yourself.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gladinet Cloud Mid-Year Review 2013

It is time to review the progress Gladinet Cloud made in the first half of the year. When we are in day-to-day operation, it didn’t feel that there is much change. And now, when we take a break to look back, there is quite some big progress made.

1. Mobile Enhancement

There was big progress made on the Mobile applications, including applications on iOS devices, Android devices and even Windows Phone 8 devices. Feature enhancements include better upload/download support; file/Folder sharing and collaboration support; and interoperability with applications installed natively on the devices.

2. Mac OS X Enhancement

Mac OS X came out of beta and getting more feature parity compared to the Windows client. Mac OS X client now can attach local folders and sync to cloud.

3. Central Administration Enhancement

More group policy support and more settings the administrator can control for the whole team. As Gladinet Cloud focus more toward businesses and enterprises, more group policy and control it will be giving to the administrators. There is also more audit trace and more file changing log.

4. Collaboration Enhancement

File locking, check-in and check-out and file modification notification are all part of Gladinet Cloud now. Since Gladinet Cloud was built on top of the concept of drive-letter based access, it can solve the fundamental file locking problem.

5. Enterprise and Service Provider Support

The Gladinet Cloud Enterprise product continue to enhance and becoming easier to self-install, self-deploy, self-brand and self-service.

Here is a quick 5 min video of the Gladinet Cloud

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Use Your Own Storage with Dropbox-like Style

There are different kind of storage (services) you own. The most common one is the file server sitting in your office, in your office building or just at the C: drive in front of you. As you may be using a hosted service provider, you may also own a file server that is sitting in a data center or some SAN storage allocated to you from the data center.  Since we are in the cloud storage era, you may also own cloud storage accounts such as those coming from Amazon S3 or Windows Azure storage. Anyway, if you need storage, you get storage and most likely, you already own some type of storage.

The Questions

Now the question is: How do you enable the Dropbox-like access methodology around your own storage, providing web browser access, desktop and mobile device access to your own storage.

That brings up another question, Dropbox is a great service and why do you want to do so around your own storage, instead of just using Dropbox?

The Challenges

That leads to the stories we heard from our MSP partners.   One story we heard is a Marketing director leaves company for a competitor company. When they inspect the laptop the marketing director left behind, they find many company confidential documents in the director’s Dropbox account. So company confidential documents leaked.

Another story we heard is that Sales guy left company. When they left, they left with customer information in their Dropbox accounts. So company assets (like customer information, deal stage) lost with lost opportunities.

So the stories we heard is that customers have a desire to control data leakage and to own data storage. That is why they desire to leverage their own storage but put a Dropbox-like access solution around it.

This is when Gladinet Cloud Enterprise (GCE) solution comes in to help.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

SharePoint Replacement–Gladinet Cloud Enterprise

We are hearing more and more partners talking about SharePoint replacement. As a collaboration solution, the most complaint SharePoint got was in two areas. The first is usability. SharePoint is not that easy to use with all the check-in, check-out stuff. Second is that SharePoint takes a lot of time and resource to setup and maintain. As we summarize what we have heard from our partners, it is about ease of use; either it be ease of use for the end user or ease of use for the administrator and SharePoint currently isn’t quite easy to use and that is the pain point for a replacement.

SharePoint is a very successful product. However, it is disrupted by the cloud storage movement and the mobile trend.  SharePoint was designed for Local Area Network, with Web Browser as the primary user interface. Nowadays, we are seeing more and more online collaboration solutions that enables collaboration over Windows PC, Mac, iPhone and Android device, and over the Internet. Customers are looking for that kind of usability, combined together with on-premise data storage and file sharing.

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise provide the kind of collaboration solution, that focused on end user experiences and end user device support. It is a collaboration solution that bridge the gap between an online collaboration solution and on-premise data storage.

1. Ease of Use – for End User

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise brings multi-device access to the collaboration. From the Windows PC, it offers a drive letter integration. From the Mac, it offers a Mac Finder Volume integration. From iOS and Android devices, it offers native applications.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Check-out, Check-in, and File-Locking in the Cloud

To continue our last discussion of Team Collaboration in the Cloud, this article discuss the check-out, check-in and file locking.

With the Gladinet Cloud client, team users get a drive letter on the desktop, representing the files and folders in the cloud. Team users can double click on a file to initiate editing of the documentation.

If the editing happens in a team folder, there is a possibility of users opening and editing documents in a conflicting way. In this scenario, it will be good to be able to check out the file, make the modification and then check-in the file. During check-out and check-in, the file will be locked for editing.

As shown below, when you right click on a file inside a team folder, you will see the menu to check out the file.

Check Out

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Team Collaboration Over the Cloud

We are all familiar with collaboration in a local area network (LAN) environment, which was fulfilled by a Windows File Server or some device that provides a network share. This is a device in the office that people can all map a network drive to the file server share and collaborate within the office.

With the Internet expands and cloud storage technology penetrates more and more into user’s daily work, it will be desirable to collaborate over the cloud, with various kinds of devices, such as the usual Windows based devices, Mac devices, iOS devices and Android devices.

Before it happens, most users need clear answers to the following features.

File Locking

When it comes to collaboration, file locking is a must have feature. Gladinet Cloud provides two places for you to lock files for editing.

First place is inside the web portal, you can click on a file and lock the file.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Group Policy in Gladinet Cloud

As Gladinet Cloud is being used by more and more businesses, we got more and more user feedback about what they would like to control about their Gladinet Cloud. Some wants to be able to see team user’s account; some wants to disable team-user from sharing home directory files and folders. Anyway, it is becoming more and more like the user policy concept and group policy concept system administrators are familiar with.

This article documents the group policies in the Gladinet Cloud.

Security

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cloud Drive, Or Full Sync

For cloud storage solutions, there are two big camps, one is the synchronization based solution, for example Google Drive, Sky Drive, Dropbox and SugarSync; and the other is drive letter based solution, such as Gladinet.

With synchronization based solution, basically every single file is replicated and synchronized to all the devices as local folders for the devices that require access.

With drive letter based solution, the cloud storage is presented to the user as an external drive , with a drive letter inside Windows Explorer or Mac Finder.  Only the folder structure and small amount of data such as file size, date and time are downloaded. The real file is not downloaded until it is used (for example, the user double click on a file to generate editing request). 

There may be a third variation that combines the drive and sync together. For example, the drive letter is the main access method, and also allow local folders to be synchronized to the cloud.

So when you need a drive based solution, instead of full synchronization based solution.

The answer basically is: If you have big amount of data, you will prefer a drive based solution. Let me explain …

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Android Client v2.0 for Gladinet Cloud

android1This week Gladinet Cloud Android Client version 2.0 was released. Earlier this month, Gladinet Cloud iOS 2.0 application was released. Now Android application is released. The iOS client and Android client are on the same release schedule and often you will see them got released one after another. The Android client will work for Gladinet Cloud Personal, Team, Business, Enterprise and Service Provider Editions.

In the new version 2.0 client, there are quite many new features added, such as the ability to share files and folders from the device directly and the ability to upload files and sync folders.

Sharing from Device

In the version 2.0 application, you can send folder or file as link to external users or to the “Files shared with me” folder for users in the same team.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Test Drive Your Own OpenStack Swift With Gladinet

openstackYou are a system administrator and you were assigned a task to setup your own OpenStack Swift instance in your own datacenter. You have followed all the OpenStack Swift documentation and at the end it is up and running.

The reason you know it is up and running is because it responds to you through command line interface. Under the hood, Swift runs on Linux so it is not surprising to see command line interface to *test* your Swift instances.

However, you feel like you want more. Maybe you feel like to have a GUI windows client; maybe you feel like to have an iOS client; maybe you feel like to have a cool web browser interface into your swift boxes. This is when you need to Gladinet to test drive the full capacity of your OpenStack Swift.

For this, we recommend using the Gladinet Cloud Team Edition account, since it has the most functionalities you wish to see.

Fronting OpenStack Swift with Universal Access

More and more service providers are running POC (Proof of Concept) on OpenStack Swift nowadays. They are looking for ways to extend their service portfolio to include file sync, sharing and collaboration solutions.

OpenStack Swift in a nut shell solves these problems: How to scale up object storage cheaply and quickly. How to make object storage reliable with built-in redundancy and How to provide the service through API (Application Programming Interface) to developers so developers can write more applications on top.

To use an analogy, OpenStack Swift is like a hard drive that never runs out of capacity and never crash, but will never be an end-user facing product in its own. OpenStack swift requires developers to add additional values before it is usable to end user (Similar to hard drive needs to be put into a PC and presented by an operating system before an end user can use).

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is one such application that adds value to OpenStack Swift. As shown in the picture below. OpenStack Swift in the center provides storage with raw READ/WRITE/DELETE/META interfaces. The Gladinet Cloud Enterprise provides Backup, Access, Sync and Share, Identity Management and Collaboration values around it.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gladinet Cloud iOS App Version 2.0

iphone128Last Week, the Gladinet Cloud iPhone & iPad application was updated to version 2.0. It is an important milestone of Gladinet Cloud. The native iOS application not only allow Gladinet Cloud users easily browse and view their files and folders in the Gladinet Cloud, but also allow users to do offline reading, send and share files and folders directly from the iOS device. It also has better local application integration so it is easier to open documents and view it in the iOS device.

Better iOS Application Integration

The application supports documents preview and  the ability to “open in …” other iOS applications. The document preview includes support for printing as well.2013-04-06 16.40.27

Offline Support

The application now support offline browsing and document reading. Once you marked a file or a folder as offline, the folder will be downloaded. Once the files and folders are downloaded, you can then turn on the “Airplane Mode” and continue to use Gladinet Cloud to browse and use files that are local to the device.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Private Sync & Share with Active Directory

Many schools have certain regulations about where the files can be stored. Most of the time, it can only be stored inside school-owned facility and most likely, stored on-premise.

Faculties and students are also having their home directories in a traditional Windows File Server way, meaning that they log on to a campus computer and there is a v: drive or a drive letter that is pointing to the user’s home directory, typically stored as a property inside the Active Directory.

In the meanwhile, you are also seeing Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive, bringing the sync & share use cases to students. As the CIO of the school, you are looking for a similar sync and share solution that can work directly with on-premise storage and active directory. The goal is simple, you want to give users the convenience of a sync and share solution, and also, meeting school regulations.

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise and Gladinet Cloud Enterprise for Service Provider are the two products that can help.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Use Amazon S3 as Your File Server

“I want to build a file server in EC2, storage use Amazon S3, user management integrated with Active Directory, and publish network shares with CIFS”.

As Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) getting more and more popular and becoming the default for EC2 servers, we are seeing more and more requests like this for Amazon S3.

As we will show you in this article, it is not hard to implement this with Gladinet Cloud solutions. There are two hurdles for you to overcome, which Gladinet Cloud does it for you.

Problems to Solve

(a) Amazon S3 is not  CIFS (Microsoft Network Share) protocol, so you will need an Amazon S3 to CIFS protocol converter. Otherwise, you can’t map a drive directly to Amazon S3.

(b) CIFS protocol is a LAN protocol, suitable for local area network. Performance wise, it wasn’t designed for wide area network (AKA Internet). The CIFS protocol is too chatty, involving too much requests and acknowledgements. It is slow to stream files over the Internet from Amazon data center to your office.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Use OpenStack Swift for Private Offsite Backup

As we are providing cloud storage access solutions for OpenStack Swift, we are also learning from our customers about how they are using the solution in their companies.

In this customer study, It involves two pieces of technology solutions, the OpenStack Swift, and Gladinet Cloud Enterprise.

OpenStack Swift is established off-site, but privately in a data center, with a service provider. The Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is established on-site, providing the on-ramp and connectivity to the private OpenStack Swift instance off-site.

The Setup

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Migrating File Server Share to Cloud

Here is a pretty common use case. You have an existing file server like windows 2003 or windows 2008 in the local office. Everyone in the local office is using a network share from the file server. There are some users from the branch office that may need to access the file server share from outside through VPN as well.

There are multiple pain points that concern you at this moment.

First is you are concerned about the life of the file sever and if the server stops functioning, you need to have a quick way to continue the work.

Second, the remote users are complaining about the speed of access to the file server since they need to go through VPN. It is cumbersome and slow.

Recently you heard the cloud storage and related technology and the possibility to cure all the pain points without disrupting your current work. That brings you to look for a cloud storage solution.

Now you are looking at how the solution will help, read on …

The Requirement

You need a solution that will meet the following requirements.

  1. Office users continue to use the file server network share, no change here.
  2. The file server network share will be in sync with online storage
  3. Online storage has desktop client, file server client, web browser client and all those clients helping you access the file server share online
  4. Branch users can use the online storage directly
  5. Online storage and local file server share are in sync

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On-Demand Access to Online Storage

Online storage services all come with some standard access methods, such as web browser based file manager and mobile applications.

Some come with a synchronization folder. For example, Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive all come with a synchronization folder.

For personal use, it may be OK for the web browser based file manager and the synchronization folder.

As online storage services getting more and more popular, personal use is gradually turning in to team collaboration over the online storage. Synchronization based accessing method gradually turning into On-Demand Access.

So customers don’t want the long wait time for the file to be synchronized to cloud. Instead, they want instant, on-demand access.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Folder Permission in the Cloud

Cloud Storage is good for team collaboration. Just like in the LAN environment, you have a NAS device that everyone local to the network can share. Or like a Windows File Server that everyone local to the network can share and the file server can setup folder permission inside the network share.

So team collaboration comes with folder permission. When team collaboration is done through cloud storage, folder permission will need to be implemented with the team collaboration solution.

This article discuss Gladinet Cloud Team Edition and the related team folder and folder permission features.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Instant Cloud Storage Migration

Companies want to migrate data to cloud and work from cloud directly. However, they don’t have time to wait for the data migration to happen if it is taking a long time. Here is a typical conversation around data migration to the cloud.

Looking for Instant Access

“Can Gladinet work as a shared network drive for 20 users within my company? I want to have employees copy and edit files and folders in one centralized drive. For example, the drive would show up in the "My Computer" section of Windows. We don't want something that is only shareable via web sites through web browser. Also, is there lag time for when we drop files to the drive? We want instant access to the files once they are uploaded.” – A customer told us their story and the solution they are looking for.

Full Sync too Long

The customer then explained their existing solution and why it didn’t fit their requirement.  “Our main problem with the other service we are testing now is that it took 20 minutes to upload 500MB of data, but then another 5 hours to sync or whatever it was doing so the files would show up on other computers.”

Friday, February 8, 2013

Private Cloud without Internet Connectivity

Back in 2007, the title of this article probably didn’t make any sense. The cloud was a diagram to represent the Internet. Cloud Services == Services from the Internet.

Now, when someone told you they need a private cloud solution without internet connectivity, you probably can guess what they want to do. It feels like they want to have a smaller scale Amazon S3/EC2-like service, smaller scale dropbox-like service or smaller box-like service that is completely contained in a building or a region that is isolated from the Internet. It just runs in its own private world. 

The Cloud word is no longer synonym to the Internet. It is synonym to the public cloud applications we are seeing, such as the ability to access files over the web browser; such as the ability to start a virtual machine from a web browser; such as the ability to view documents over iPhone and Android devices and so on. Now private cloud means you want to do all that in a  private environment.

We are seeing requests like this for Gladinet. People are asking, can your solution runs completely offline, isolated from the Internet.

Yes, the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise can.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Share File Server with Mobile User

A new lead came in and it read as follows:

We have a Windows 2008 file sever and want to share information with mobile users with laptops and smart phones. Can you replicate the file server folders to the cloud? Can users view the file server shares as a shared disk? What product would you recommend that will satisfy this need?

This is a very common use case for Gladinet product, commonly referred to as File Server Content in the Cloud.

Typically, you would set up a seamless link between file server local folders (most of the time, existing network share) and the cloud storage. While the folders are seamlessly migrated to the cloud storage, you can use it from remote locations. On one hand, it fulfilled the need to access, on the other hand, it fulfill the need to migrate.

You would need the Gladinet Cloud Team Edition or Business Edition so you have a cloud storage account to start with. After that, on the Windows 2008 file server, you would install the Gladinet Cloud Team Server. On the remote user’s machine, you will use the Gladinet Cloud Team Client or mobile app.

Now let’s get started.

Monday, February 4, 2013

On-Demand Access to Your Amazon GovCloud S3 Storage

You love public cloud solutions and the anywhere on-demand access they provide to your online storage account. You like the web browser based file manager; the sync and share; and desktop and mobile device access to your online storage.

However, your company is a government agency and there are specific regulatory and compliance requirements that you need to meet. The only option for you is to use a cloud storage vendor that is compliant to certain regulations requirements.  For example, AWS GovCloud is one of your option.

Now you need to find a solution that can be plugged into your AWS GovCloud environment and provide the same web browser based file manager; the sync and share; the online collaboration and all those functionalities.

Look no further, Gladinet is the solution you are looking for. Let me explain …

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Give User Home Directory a Dropbox-Like Access

In a recent Gladinet Cloud Enterprise trial, a customer tells us their story and why they are looking for a solution like Gladinet Cloud Enterprise.

The Remote Site Headache

The customer has multiple sites. For users from the remote sites, they are so used to save documents to the local My Documents folder. Even though there is a file server network share local to the remote site, users are still so used to save documents to My Documents folder.
However, in the past week, there were already 3 cases that the user’s PC broke down and together, took away the data stored on it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Delegate Administration for Gladinet Cloud

When you have a small team, you don’t need delegate administration.
However, when your team size is 20 and above, or if you are using Gladinet Cloud Enterprise for you whole company, you need delegate administration.

What You can Manage in Gladinet Cloud?

In Gladinet Cloud, you can manage Team Folders, Plugin multiple cloud storage systems at the Storage Manager, manage users at User Manager and etc..
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For a big team, you may want to split up the management scope so different administrators can manage different aspect of the system.
There are two different kinds of delegate administrators in the system. First is full delegate administrator. These administrators will have the same admin rights as you, the master admin of the team account.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Host Your Own Sync & Share Solution in Amazon VPC

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise was released in 2012. The goal was to help businesses create a self-hosted file sync & share solution (dropbox-like solution) by leveraging business’s own file server and existing Active Directory services.


As more and more customers discussing the use cases with us related to the self-hosted sync and share solution, an important use case shows up - running the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise from within Amazon VPC.


As customers migrating to the cloud, many of them are migrating to “Virtual Private” data centers such as Amazon EC2. They will move their files to Amazon S3 and start Amazon EC2 servers to connect to their data, from within a VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). Basically, the Amazon EC2 servers are like on-premise servers that connect to the company network.


So the interesting idea is: How to make Gladinet Cloud Enterprise run on Amazon EC2 servers?

 
What if the solution itself is a virtual appliance contained inside an Amazon Machine Images (AMIs)?


As a starting point, we are announcing 2 AMI images that are publically available from the Amazon N. Virginia data center.
Gladinet Cloud Enterprise (Single Business) : GCE
Gladinet Cloud Enterprise (Service Provider): GSP
You can get to the images by using the ami id or search for “GCE” or “GSP” or “gladinet” inside the “public images”.

Step 1 – Find the AMI image

From within the Amazon Web Console, under the IMAGES/AMIs, search for GCE or GSP or Gladinet, you will be able to locate the image.

(a) search for “gladinet”, the GCE entry is for Gladinet Cloud Enterprise, single enterprise package. The GSP is for Gladinet Cloud for Service Provider package. The number is the build number such as build 479.

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(b) search for “GCE”
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Friday, January 11, 2013

OpenStack Windows Client

Every Hosting Provider is building its own cloud storage solutions. The situation is either build it or lose business to whoever has it, such as Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files or Windows Azure Blob Storage.

Now the question is how to build it fast and take it to market soon. In this sense, OpenStack Object Storage is very attractive. First it is open source. Second, it is based on Rackspace Cloud Files so it has big commercial companies supporting the initiative.

 

If you are a service provider built on OpenStack storage, you are thinking about how to deliver that storage to user’s desktop. If you are a SMB user, you are thinking about how to use the storage from your desktop too. Either way, you are looking for a Windows client that supports OpenStack storage.

With the release of version 2.4, OpenStack is supported in Gladinet Cloud Desktop, CloudAFS and Cloud Backup, collectively the Gladinet Cloud Storage Access Suite.

[Updated 1/11/2013] With the release of Gladinet Cloud, now there is different access clients surrounding OpenStack swift storage,  including Windows, Mac, Browser based file manager and mobile apps.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Use Cloud Solution to Replace in-house FTP Server

In the past 15 years, FTP server was used as a way to pass documents between companies. For example, you could be a document management company or a media conversion company. Your customers mail you their documents or VHS tapes, you will convert the paper media or VHS tape into digital media and store on the FTP server for customers to download.  It sounds so yesterday, as if everyone was good at using FTP to retrieve electronic documents.

With today’s technology, you would expect FTP accessing method replaced with web browser access. Customers can be directed to a folder link to preview the converted digital media and click a button to download the whole folder of documents.

This is possible with Gladinet Cloud Enterprise. Gladinet Cloud Enterprise server will replace an FTP server, providing web based access method, in addition to desktop client access methods.

1. Connecting to Local File Server Storage

Similar to FTP Server that can connect to Local File Server Storage, Gladinet Cloud Enterprise server is capable of connecting to local file server as well. In the Gladinet Cloud Enterprise Server, different storage options such as Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, Local File Server, NAS and SAN storage are all available.

The benefit of connecting to local file server is the interoperability with existing software. In the case of a document conversion company or VHS conversion company, they have existing process and existing software to convert traditional media to digital media and save them onto a file server. So the company doesn’t need to change any of the existing software or process.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Any Company Can have a User Facing Cloud Solution

Long long time ago, only a few can enjoy computing power until PC became a reality so any one can enjoy computing power at home. There were several steps along the way to made that happen. First was that computer no longer occupy a whole room of space. They are becoming smaller and smaller so it is cost-effective to deliver and it was also possible to be put on a desk. Second was that computer was cheaper. It was no longer a million-dollar machine but a thousand-dollar machine or even a hundred-dollar machine.

Same thing is happening now for cloud solution. Companies like box and dropbox created these nice customer facing cloud solutions, which many companies and MSP (Managed Service Provider) wish they can host and serve their own to customers.  There are also companies that want to serve their own employee with a solution like this too. Just like the PC market, there is a market for smaller, easier and cheaper to deploy, user facing cloud solution.

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise was built for this purpose, giving any company and any MSP an easy way to enjoy a self-hosted, user facing cloud solution for file sync and share and team collaboration.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Installable Enterprise Sync & Share Solution

When it comes to cloud storage, many users are familiar with dropbox and box. Many companies wish they had a similar solution that is installable, deployable and under the company’s own control.

For example, there are companies using Amazon GovCloud,  wish to have a file sync & share and team collaboration solution inside GovCloud.

Another example, there are companies that have sensitive client data that is under NDA,  which has to be maintained on-site, without leaving the company premise. They wish to have an internal sharing solution, which is good for the company intranet.

It could also be that some companies need to be HIPPA compliant and have built a HIPPA-compliant storage service. They need a corresponding sync & share solution to work with their own storage.

All these use cases need a self-installable solution that can be deployed at a flexible place, such as on an EC2 machine, connecting to S3 , but inside the GovCloud; or be deployed in a data center that is close to the enterprise data storage; or simply on-premise in the LAN (local area network) environment.  

Gladinet Cloud Enterprise is a solution built for this need. It is an installable and deployable solution that brings browser based file manager, desktop client, file server client and mobile device applications to any enterprise storage services.