Many public cloud services provide you with a desktop folder, inside which files are synchronized with a third party site and ready to be synchronized again to remote PC, Mac, and mobile devices. This method works well for a personal user. However, in businesses, employees may have a different daily workflow depending on the drive mapping feature to work on files and folders from within a PC drive letter, or a Mac mounted volume.
In 2009, Gladinet released Gladinet Cloud Desktop, one of the very first cloud drive mapper tool that can map a network drive to Microsoft SkyDrive (now OneDrive), Google Drive, Amazon S3, etc cloud storage services. Very soon after, it was discovered that cloud storage services all have some limitations. For example, OneDrive has a total path length limitation, and Google Drive allows duplicated file names in a folder. The restrictions were so severe that replacing traditional file server workloads with cloud storage services was not 100% possible. A generic cloud drive mapping tool doesn't work because it reduces itself to a common subset of features among different benefits.
To have a native cloud drive mapper for the business use case, we made a trade-off to support only those raw cloud storage services such as Amazon S3, Windows Azure Blob Storage, and OpenStack Swift storage. In return, the cloud drive mapping can be as close to a natively mapped drive with the following features.
The cloud drive brings in files from the cloud repository only when necessary and only when permission allows.
Encrypt files sitting in the local cache and backup local files and folders.
Inside the cloud drive, the files are put under version control and can be reverted to specific dates and times when necessary.
Provide centralized distributed file locking for concurrent file-level access inside the cloud drive
There are many transfer optimizations inside the cloud drive, including binary differential upload.
Centralized group policy that can manage the cloud drive settings
Remotely access file shares from a drive letter on Windows and a mounted volume on Mac
Minimize storage and bandwidth consumption by automatically syncing and caching only the files you need.
Encrypt remote agent caches or revoke remote agent access privileges from a central management console.
Access shared files and shared folders in an offline mode detached from the Internet and synchronize when back online.
Define different permissions for folders at different levels of the directory structure or inherit from NTFS permissions directly.
CentreStack can mirror a local file server into cloud storage for a hybrid cloud server setup.
From internal Active Directory users to external clients and partners, you can define user rights for folder sharing.
CentreStack adds version control and file protection from cloud storage to the local file server.
CentreStack's ability to utilize standard letter-drive mappings for cloud storage simplifies adoption, access, and centralized collaboration. Many other solutions offer savings and productivity boost from cloud file sharing (e.g., Egnyte and Dropbox). Still, CentreStack provides the unique ability to create your cloud-based file server with custom branding while retaining complete control of the storage and servers involved. CentreStack is also unique in its deep integration with NTFS and Active Directory and creating a hybrid cloud file server environment that preserves drive mapping, file locking, and familiar permission control user experiences.
Easy remote access to file server network shares with a mapped drive and without a VPN.
CentreStack includes a cloud storage initial seeding feature that seamlessly migrates a local file server into a cloud file server for cloud drive mapping and access from PCs and Macs. To do so, CentreStack can either install agent software on your file server or directly mount network shares from your file server network share when direct access is available. It intelligently manages local and cloud storage to provide a range of cloud enablement options.
Active Directory security and NTFS permission models are also maintained as if nothing changed. Users get a familiar drive letter to access files from remote locations with distributed file locking to prevent collaboration collisions.
Businesses find themselves having to purchase new file servers every few years. These capital expenditures can be eliminated by migrating file shares to the cloud with CentreStack. Users can continue to work on the existing file shares without disruption and the file server can be retired once the migration is completed.
Simplify remote access and file sharing with familiar interfaces on any computer or device. Windows and Mac desktops display natively mapped drives in Explorer and Finder. That same experience is presented on iOS and Android devices like iPads, iPhones and Pixels or can be viewed from popular web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
Easily collaborate with business partners by providing them with access to a limited set of internal files or folders. Share files with non-AD users while maintaining administrative controls. Simplify multi-site collaboration with automatic version controls and file locking.
Eliminate the overhead and support tickets commonly associated with VPN file sharing, Always On VPN or Direct Access. Automatically use existing users and permissions to save setup time and money. The cloud mapped drive is always-on without the VPN connections.
Eliminate the need to manage servers on-premises by retiring them to the cloud. Centrally manage users, access controls, and storage for each tenant. Easily keep track of where the data is, who has access and how it’s being shared.
For complete control and visibility, granular permissions can be managed from the file server that was their source, or natively with CentreStack. If the file server is retired, CentreStack becomes the new permissions master.
Centrally manage users, access controls, and storage for each tenant. Easily keep track of where the data is, who has access and how it’s being shared. Admins can perform audits of GDPR and HIPAA compliance or keep track of any changes that have been made to individual files.
Provide an always-on mapped drive that works anywhere on any device and allows mobile users to access internal file shares or cloud file servers easily. Users are already familiar with the mapped drive, and no extra training is required.
Data protection comes with military-grade encryption, secure connections, and more. Automatically use existing users and permissions to save setup time and money.
Cloud mapped drive leverage local cache and on-demand download to reduce bandwidth usage and endpoint storage consumption. Cloud mapped drive technology works with a laptop with a small local SSD drive.
CentreStack provides a white-labeled platform that makes it easy for MSP partners to build a private cloud file server solution based on infrastructure from Amazon, Azure, or Google.
For data privacy, security, and control, CentreStack provides a better alternative to Dropbox and SharePoint using any private cloud or on-premise file server network shares.