Using Azure Storage as a Cloud File Server

Turn Azure Storage into a cloud based file server solution with mapped drive, file locking, secure access and file sharing!

Azure Storage as file server illustration

Do More with Azure Blob Storage

Are you looking for a simpler way to access your data in Azure Storage? Perhaps you're looking for something more like a windows file server with mapped drive, file locking, Active Directory integration and NTFS permission integration? So what does CentreStack offer that makes it interesting? CentreStack layers Windows file server like features such as drive mapping, file locking directly on top of Azure Storage to turn it in to a cloud based file server. It allows you to seamlessly access files from mapped drives, mobile devices and web browsers anywhere. And you can easily share files and folders as web links from outlook or web browsers.

Challenges of Azure Storage

Azure Storage, for the most part, is designed for independent software vendors (ISVs) to build business solutions, and not for direct use. It is kind of like a hard drive, which is not designed to be used directly but as a building block behind a tool like Windows Explorer or a file sharing platform such as a Windows file server.

CentreStack Solution

CentreStack, with its Windows Azure API integration, adds secure remote access and file sharing, disaster prevention and recovery, to file servers on-premises with easy cloud migration to Windows Azure Cloud Services. For files and folders that you have already migrated into Azure Storage via other means, CentreStack puts a file server interface above the raw Azure Blob Storage service and turn it into a secure access and file sharing solution.

Secure Access & File Sharing

CentreStack bridges file servers and Windows Azure for secure remote access and file sharing.

Disaster Recovery

CentreStack leverages Windows Azure as a central cloud file repository with version control, file change history and audit tracing to provide business continuity for file servers on-premises.

Easy Cloud Migration

CentreStack sets up a hybrid deployment between local file servers and Windows Azure that can be seamlessly converted to Windows Azure only. The end result is a cloud file server on top of Windows Azure instead of on-premise. .

CentreStack Feature Highlights

Cloud Mapped Drive

Remotely access file shares from a drive letter, without the need for a VPN. Mobile applications included!

On-Demand Sync

Minimize storage and bandwidth consumption by automatically syncing and caching only the files you need.

Version Control

CentreStack adds version control and file protection to the local file server.

Hybrid File Server

Local file server and Azure Storage storage synchronize with each other for business continuity and easy cloud migration.

Active Directory

Preserve NTFS permissions and Active Directory identities when connecting file servers to Windows Azure.

Folder Permission

Granular folder permissions that can mirror NTFS permissions or start from scratch.

Deployment Option #1

Hybrid Local File Servers with Azure Storage

CentreStack File Server Agent installed on the file server that will migrate to Windows Azure over time. Supports Windows 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019 (32-bit/64-bit).

If the file server is in the same network as the CentreStack server, a direct connection is also possible (see Option #2).

Deployment Option #2

File Servers with Direct Cloud Access

If you've already migrated local file server data into the Windows Azure data center with Windows Azure Compute, CentreStack provides a direct file access solution from remote devices and mobile devices.

Problems Solved

CentreStack's file server integration and cloud enablement solves these problems by installing agent software on your file server or directly mounting your file server network share into CentreStack when direct access is available. It intelligently manages local and cloud storage together to provide a range of cloud enablement options.

Most importantly, the active directory security and NTFS permission model is maintained as if it was never changed. And drive mapping functionality is maintained so end users get a familiar drive letter to access files from remote locations. File locking is also maintained for multiple users collaborating on the same file at the same time.

The end result is that the file server network shares are synchronized into Windows Azure and CentreStack provides a complete access solution from Windows mapped drives and Mac Finder mounted volume to iOS and Android.

Secure Access and File Sharing

Attach local file server folders to your CentreStack server to enable remote access. The original network shares remain accessible over the local area network.

Migrate Existing File Shares to Windows Azure Azure Storage Storage

Alternatively, file server content can be migrated over time to Azure Storage to form a hybrid environment. In addition to remote access, this enables a background backup process for business continuity.

Global Workspace

Create a global name space directory structure unifying different file servers into a single folder structure, enabling multi-site collaboration with a distributed cloud file system backed by Azure Storage.

Server in the Cloud

You can also leverage these features by using an existing file server from Azure EC2 Virtual Machines in VPC as a private cloud.