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Cloud Storage & Access Solution

Simple Secure Access to Online Storage, with Team Collaboration

Introduction

This white paper describes Gladinet Cloud Team Edition, an access solution that supports the BASIC use cases for online storage.

These include:

  • Backup local content to online storage
  • Access online storage with any device
  • Share and Synchronize content
  • Identity Integration
  • Collaborate securely

Problem Statement

As businesses migrate to online storage, they are faced with the challenge of providing an easy way for their employees to take full advantage without re-training or otherwise disrupting their existing workflow.

In general, online cloud storage is designed for use by developers. For example, a business’ users can’t easily access Amazon S3 storage unless they acquire a third party access solution. They need a simple solution that provides familiar interfaces that can be used to leverage online storage for its most important use cases.

For the purposes of security and control, many businesses also want the freedom to choose which cloud storage service they trust and use.

Previous Options

There are many online storage solutions. Most focused on web browser based access but don't provide desktop client with drive mapping capability. Re-training is required for the new user interface.

Many provide PC client tools for Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac but don't provide file server access or file server sync.

Almost all of the other online storage solutions are based on Amazon S3 under the hood, but don't provide choices for additional online cloud storage services such as Google Cloud Storage, HP Cloud Storage, Rackspace Cloud Files, Windows Azure Blob Storage, OpenStack Swift Object Storage, Nirvanix, EMC Atmos and or Amazon S3 compatible services like Scality.

Many will ask you to go to their web site to use the service but don't provide self-host options with white-label capability.

Compared to peer online storage solutions, Gladinet Cloud is quite unique by providing drive mapping random access; providing file server cloud storage gateway and server sync; providing the same solution integrated with many online cloud storage service providers; and even providing the self-host and white-label capabilities.

Gladinet Solution

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition solves these problems with a flexible, multi-tiered architecture.

This architecture allows any cloud storage service to be used with the Gladinet Cloud access infrastructure and provides support for multiple device types and file servers.

Benefit 1 - Hybrid Online Storage

The Gladinet Cloud access solution incorporates existing on-premise data with online storage in a hybrid access solution where you have the flexibility to keep some data on site while the rest is moved to the cloud.

Benefit 2 - Global Namespace

Content from multiple sites will be combined into a single, global namespace that can be uniformly accessed from any device in any location.

Benefit 3 - Choice of Trusted Service Provider

You can select your trusted service provider first, such as HP Cloud or Windows Azure, before you put the online storage solution together for your company. You can also ask your trusted service provider to deploy the Gladinet Cloud solution for you.

Solution Highlights

Online Backup

Every business has information that is vital to its successful operation. This is true no matter what the size of the organization. In fact, there are many statistics which clearly indicate that data loss is a significant driver of business failures.

These businesses not only need to backup essential information, they are faced with the challenge of dealing with more and more of it across many different types of devices. It is becoming increasingly difficult for IT professionals to manage the rising costs of managing their rapidly expanding data sets.

Attached Folder Synchronization

To address these issues, Gladinet Cloud Team Edition provides the ability to attach an existing folder to online storage.

The contents of an attached folder will be synchronized with online storage and will immediately become accessible for remote users. From the users’ perspective, it will appear that all content was instantly uploaded.

This is in stark contrast to most online storage access services where files in a folder will not become accessible until they have been copied to cloud storage, and users have to wait while data is being copied from an on-premise location to online storage, where it will become available for access.

Synchronization and Versioned Backup

The attached folder’s contents will be synchronized with the cloud and a versioned backup will be maintained for each file in the attached folder, but even before the initial synchronization is completed, the entire contents of the attached folder can be accessed anywhere by any of the Gladinet clients.

Hybrid Access

Once the initial synchronization has been completed, you have the option to remove the original server or continue to work in hybrid mode where the attached folder can be accessed through the on-premise file server or offsite with any device. In either case, changes that are made to the folder’s contents will be synchronized and restores can be performed from the versioned backup.

Snapshot Backup

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition also provides a snapshot backup which supports the backup of open or locked files. Snapshot backups provide optimal efficiency since they only store the incremental changes once the initial snapshot has been stored.

Online Storage Access

Perhaps the most basic challenge of online storage is how to provide access. Fundamentally, cloud storage services use primitive commands embedded in the HTTP protocol. These commands allow a developer to write programs that can interact with cloud storage but are not helpful for end users who need to access online storage using familiar paradigms like a drive letter on their desktop, or a file share on their network.

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition gives them the capability to access online storage from any device using native interfaces.

Mapped Drive Access

Gladinet’s solution provides a mapped drive on PCs so that users can use familiar tools like Windows Explorer and Mac Finder to access files in their online storage. A big advantage of the Gladinet approach is that you can maintain your existing file tree hierarchy - unlike other solutions which require your existing directory structure to be refactored to a special folder.

Mobile Device Access

The Team Edition provides mobile applications for any iOS or Android device. Once installed, these applications allow native mobile device access to the Gladinet Cloud. For example, on an iPhone, the Gladinet Cloud application can be downloaded from the Apple store, configured with a Gladinet user name and password (which could actually come from active directory) and then used for direct access to files in the Gladinet Cloud or on an on-premise file server.

File Server Integration with Online Storage

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition provides several clients including Gladinet Cloud Server which is specifically designed for file servers. This client allows a file server to act as an online storage gateway providing clientless access to online storage through network file shares. It also allows existing file shares to be attached to online storage for instant access.

Web Portal

Gladinet Cloud can be accessed from any modern web browser, such as IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. An explorer-like interface is provided and files can be dragged directly into the browser.

Synchronization and Sharing

As mentioned above, the contents of an attached folder will be synchronized with online storage and will immediately become accessible for remote users.

Users are also provided with the ability to share a file or folder with anyone.

Identity Integration with Online Storage

Secure online collaboration is made possible through Gladinet’s tight integration with Active Directory. Any Gladinet Cloud Server instance can be used as a proxy by the Gladinet Cloud infrastructure to automatically sync user information from Active Directory. The user information is used to control authorization and access to shared content like team folders.

Secure Online Collaboration

Administrators can create shared workspaces with access controls using Team Folders in Gladinet Cloud. Once published by the administrator, a team folder will become accessible by every account user who has been granted access.

Any folder in the Gladinet Cloud can be published as a team folder. This makes it possible to attach an existing folder on an on-premise file server to Gladinet Cloud, and then publish it as a team folder.

With Gladinet’s AD integration, a user can therefore login to the Gladinet cloud with his existing Active Directory credentials, and then access the team folder remotely from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. And any changes made to the contents of the team folder will be protected by distributed file locking and synchronized across all locations.

Summary

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition allows an organization to provide simple, secure access to online storage for all their backup, synchronization and collaboration needs.

With the Gladinet solution, users can continue to use familiar paradigms like mapped drives, file shares and applications on their mobile devices to leverage online storage.

Next Steps

If you haven't seen "Gladinet Cloud" in action, click the button below to sign up for a team edition account. It has 14-day trial that gives you direct experience of what it is.The sign up process is 3 minutes, so you can see it in action very quickly and evaluate it thoroughly.

  

See Also

Folder Share Across the Internet

Use online storage as if it were just another drive on your PC

Simple Online Collaboration

Gladinet Cloud Team Edition How-Tos


 
 
 
Additional questions?  Contact Gladinet Support at support@gladinet.com.
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