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Microsoft Azure for Cloud File Server

White Paper

Migrate file servers to Microsoft Azure for remote access, secure file sharing and data protection!

azure file sync feature

Microsoft Azure Cloud Strategy

CentreStack offers business owners and managed service providers a better cloud strategy for on-premise file servers using the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform and services. With CentreStack, you can immediately add mobile access, secure file sharing, disaster prevention and recovery to your file servers on-premises, but these features do not depend on immediate cloud migration which can be delayed indefinitely or completed at a comfortable pace.

Challenges of Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure's cloud computing platform and services, for the most part, are designed for independent software vendors (ISVs) to build business solutions, and not for direct use.

There are some that are more user friendly, like Azure AD and Azure Virtual Machines, but most are meant to be used via API by ISVs. Azure File Sync is similar in terms of setting up a hybrid cloud/local file server deployment but it is missing key features like those from OneDrive for mobile access and secure file sharing.

CentreStack Solution

CentreStack adds remote mobile access and secure file sharing, disaster prevention and recovery, to file server on-premises with easy cloud migration to Microsoft Azure. It is a better solution compared to the Azure File Sync because it adds mobile access, secure file sharing, end point protection, version control, audit trace and many other features in addition to the basic two-way file synchronization.

Secure Access & File Sharing

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

Disaster Recovery

CentreStack leverages 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 Azure that can be seamlessly converted to Azure only. .

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 from Microsoft Azure to the local file server.

business woman explains azure file sync and secure sharing features

Folder Permission

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

Active Directory

Preserve NTFS permissions and Active Directory (Azure AD) identities when connecting file servers to Microsoft Azure.

Hybrid File Server

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

Deployment Option #1

Hybrid Local File Servers with Azure Blob Storage

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

Local on-premise file shares will be synchronized with storage services in Microsoft Azure, while CentreStack at the same time provides HTTPS based secure access, web link based secure file sharing, version control and snapshot based data protection, mobile applications and desktop agents to facilitate a complete end-to-end solution.

azure file sync and mobile access deployment 1
azure file sync and secure file sharing deployment 2

Deployment Option #2

File Servers with Direct Cloud Access

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

Problems Solved

CentreStack file server integration and 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 important, 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.

Secure Access and File Sharing

Attach local file server folders to your CentreStack server. Once attached, it is accessible online, enabling remote access. At the same time, the original network shares remain accessible over the local area network.

Migrate Existing File Shares to Azure

Alternatively, file server content can be migrated over time to Azure blob 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 mult-site collaboration. It is a distributed file system in the cloud, backed by Azure Blob Storage.

Server in the Cloud

You can also leverage the features above by using the existing file server from Azure Virtual Machines as a private cloud.

End Point Protection

In addition to on-demand sync and selective-sync, CentreStack client agents on PC and Mac encrypts local cache and backup local folders to provide end-point protection.

Data Protection

CentreStack provides version control, audit trace, file change history and other features for data protection.

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