With more companies embracing cloud delivery models and employees demanding access to information across a variety of mobile devices, IT organizations have been challenged with the daunting task of how to balance these new demands with existing corporate policies on security and data leakage protection. One option would be to limit access and require users to utilize traditional VPN solutions under tight control of network administrators. Another would be to allow users to manage their own access with services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Neither of these options satisfy the needs of both workers and management. Enter Citrix’s ShareFile with Local Storage Zones. Having been using the cloud-hosted version of the solution for the past couple of months, we were looking forward to this welcome addition. I have to say that the setup was straight forward and it has provided everything it promised.
The prerequisites are a public URL, a signed SSL cert, Windows 2008 Server and a CIFS share accessible from the server. Before you begin, the IIS environment should be prepped with the proper SSL installation and bindings. After downloading and installing the small executable on the server you’re prompted to log in to your existing ShareFile account.
After logging in you’ll be presented with a very simple configuration page where you will enter some basic information…
The zone will be prepopulated based on your ShareFile account. Your Hostname will be the server you’ve installed the ShareFile Storage Zones software on, the external URL you’ve previously set up, and the UNC path to the CIFS share where the ShareFile data will live. If all of the settings are correct, you’ll be greeted with a confirmation window like this…
We can further confirm the successful storage zones configuration by logging into the ShareFile site, going to the admin section, and selecting the “Storage Zones” link. If all went well, you should see your newly created storage zone like this.
You can check the health and status of the zone by clicking on the name to bring up a dashboard-like screen. You can see that at this point there are no folders or data on the storage zone.
Creating folders and uploading data in the storage zone is as simple as can be. Simply navigate to the home directory and click the “Add Folder” button. You’ll notice that you have an option that was not present with the cloud only solution.
Using the dropdown you can now see your storage zone available to host the folder and its data. Proceeding with the folder creation we can now upload data to the local storage zone. Before we upload the data we take a look at the CIFS share itself and take note of the folder structure. We see that among the folders is one called “persistentstorage”, which then has an empty subfolder using a random string for its folder name.
We then upload a file about 1MB is size and see it successfully listed in our ShareFile site.
If we go back to the folder view on the CIFS share we can now see that the previously empty folder now contains data equivalent to the size of the PDF document we just uploaded.
Management of the new storage zones can be determined on a user-by-user basis as well. In addition to the previously available options, you can now define each user’s default storage location (cloud or local), their folder creation rights and whether or not the employee can use the local storage zones for folders.
Whether your organization is trying to deal with the growing use of unsecured public cloud storage or simply looking for a robust data solution to compliment an existing Citrix environment, the new ShareFile with Local Storage Zones provides a secure, easy to manage, flexible solution that can meet those needs. Please contact us to discuss how this technology can benefit your organization.