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Cloud Drive Mapping

Feature White Paper

CentreStack provides cloud drive mapping on both Windows and Mac desktops for on-demand access to public cloud storage and private cloud storage.

cloud drive mapper illustration

Are you looking for a cloud drive mapper?

Many public cloud services provide you with a desktop folder, inside which files will be synchronized to 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 work flow depending on the drive mapping feature so they can work on files and folders from within a PC drive letter or a Mac mounted volume.

History of Cloud Drive Mapping Tools

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 and etc cloud storage services. Very soon after, it was discovered that cloud storage services all have some kind of limitations. For example, OneDrive has total path length limitation and Google Drive allows duplicated file names in a folder. The limitations were so severe that replacing traditional file server work load with cloud storage services were not 100% possible. A generic cloud drive mapping tool doesn't work because it reduces itself to a common subset of features among different services.

In order to have a native cloud drive mapper for business use case, a trade off was made that to support only those raw cloud storage services such as Amazon S3, Windows Azure Blob Storage, OpenStack Swift storage. In return, the cloud drive mapping can be as close to a natively mapped drive with the following features.

On-Demand Sync

The cloud drive brings in files from cloud repository only when it is necessary and only when permission allows.

End Point Protection

Encrypt files sitting in the local cache and backup local files and folders.

Version Control

Inside the cloud drive, the files are put under version control and can be reverted back to certain date and time when necessary.

File Locking

Provide centralized distributed file locking for concurrent file level access inside the cloud drive

Binary Differential

There are many transfer optimizations inside the cloud drive including binary differential upload.

Central Control

Centralized group policy that can manage the cloud drive settings

Cloud Drive Mapping Highlights

CentreStack allows an organization to provide simple, secure access to online storage for their backup, synchronization and collaboration needs.

Windows & Mac

Remotely access file shares from a drive letter on Windows and a mounted volume on Mac

On-Demand Sync

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

Offline Access

End users can selective synchronize important folders down into the cloud drive for offline access.

Folder Permission

Granular folder permissions that can mirror NTFS permissions or get created natively.

Active Directory

Preserve NTFS permissions and Active Directory identities when connecting file servers to the cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Server

CentreStack can mirror a local file server into cloud storage for a hybrid cloud server setup.

Use Cases

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 boosts from cloud file sharing (e.g. Egnyte and Dropbox) but CentreStack offers the unique ability to create your own 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 the ability to create a hybrid cloud file server environment that preserves drive mapping, file locking and familiar permission control user experiences.

Cloud Drive in Connection with Local File Server

CentreStack includes cloud storage initial seeding feature that seamlessly migrate a local file server into 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, and users get a familiar drive letter to access files from remote locations with distributed file locking to prevent collaboration collisions.

Retire File Servers

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.

Remote Access and File Sharing

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.

Simplify file shares access

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.

Reduce costs by Replacing VPN

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.

Simplify Management

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.

Centrally manage permissions

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.

Maintain Compliance

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.

Increase Productivity

Provide an always-on mapped drive that works anywhere on any device and allows mobile users to easily access internal file shares or cloud file servers. Users are already familiar with mapped drive and no extra training required.

Enhance Data Security

with military grade encryption, secure connections and more. Automatically use existing users and permissions to save setup time and money.

On-Demand Synchronization

cloud mapped drive leverage local cache and on-demand download to reduce bandwidth usage and endpoint storage consumption. Cloud mapped drive technology works with laptop with small local SSD drive.

Multi-tenant, white Labeled Solution

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.

A Private Cloud Alternative

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.