Having trouble running AutoCAD on Dropbox, Google Drive, or SharePoint?

Do you overwrite each other's changes when you modify CAD drawings on SharePoint?
Do the file's external references break from time to time?
Have you restructured your project structure to make room in SharePoint or OneDrive?
There is a better way to solve these problems!

A story - An engineering firm tries out SharePoint

An engineering firm has been using SharePoint for over three years. The SharePoint service was part of their Office 365 subscription and was initially used primarily for Microsoft Teams and Office documents. Recently, they started moving some CAD files to SharePoint and ran into two issues.

1. The File Lock Issue - it's not specifically about the need to change the file sequentially, but rather about the sync and lock file corrupting the files. You can think of the drawing CAD as a bunch of files grouped together with a lock file. Thus, without file locking, it is not an atomic update.

2. External Reference (XREF) - Since they use the files from Windows machines, there is a OneDrive folder. But with the OneDrive folder, anyone updating the file changes the external reference to "C:\users\joe-or-john\OneDrive" so the path is not the same on all machines.

Folder permissions?

Another story involves a construction company that does not use Office 365's OneDrive or SharePoint because the permissions structure is very important to them. Since the company is in the electrical installation business and there are many project folders, permission structures have been set for the various projects. The synchronization of OneDrive folders breaks the permission.

Below are the three most commonly cited problem areas when using AutoCAD with a cloud storage solution such as SharePoint, OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. It would be best if you had a cloud storage solution that could resolve these three issues. 

File Locking

You can think of the CAD drawing as a bunch of files grouped together with a lock file. So without file locking, it is not an atomic update. Also, file locking sometimes takes the form of a specific lock file when synchronized with other computers, which can cause problems.

External Reference

CAD drawings and Adobe InDesign files have external references to other supporting materials in the form of files. Some external references and link files have an absolute file name that begins with a drive letter followed by a file path. When the drive letter or file path changes, the references are broken.

Folder Permissions

In a Windows Active Directory -based file system, files and folders are protected by NTFS permissions. When the files and folders are migrated from the file servers to cloud storage services, there are no longer NTFS permissions for the files and folders.

What is the cause of these problems?

Many cloud storage solutions use peer-to-peer file synchronization made famous by Dropbox. For example, there is a "Dropbox" folder where users can place files, and any file placed in the Dropbox folder is synced with Dropbox folders on other computers. This file mode is also the same for SharePoint and OneDrive. SharePoint and OneDrive are located on the Favorites panel of Windows Explorer. Changes to files in SharePoint and OneDrive are first synchronized with SharePoint's cloud service and then transferred to other users' computers.

Because this file operation mode is different from traditional file server network sharing, file locking, external references, and folder permissions are not the same as before.

Solve these problems at the source

The source of these issues is peer-to-peer file sync: SharePoint, OneDrive and Dropbox share this file sync design with users' computers. Google Drive has the File Stream Desktop Drive Mapping application, which is not exactly peer-to-peer file synchronization. However, Google Drive does not provide the original NTFS permission control for files and folders.

To solve the problem, we need to move files and folders back to the file servers so that it is possible to perform file locking and folder permissions and use a mapped drive to satisfy external references in a file. At the same time, we can also bring SharePoint or OneDrive-like functionality to a Windows file server. 

Solution #1 - Lift and Shift

Lift-and-Shift is a migration strategy that creates another set of virtual machines in Azure, AWS, or a regional co-location data center and moves the data on the on-premises file server to the virtual machines in the data centers. Once the data migration is complete, the DNS name for the file server can be quickly switched from the on-premises file server to the file server in the cloud. In this type of procedure, lift-and-shift is also known as rehosting. It is a relatively fast and cost-effective way to migrate data from on-premises to the cloud, and the best part is that it is backward compatible after DNS redirection.

Solution #2 - Hybrid Cloud and Local File Server

Lift-and-shift is easier when the Internet in the office is fast. Therefore, a site-to-site VPN between the office firewall and the cloud virtual network acts like part of the local network.

The hybrid cloud file server is a good balance between the local file server and the cloud file server, so employees in the local office can still use the file server over a local network.

Why Triofox helps when SharePoint doesn't work?

Triofox Solution

With Gladinet Triofox, the cloud file access solution is interoperable with existing file server network shares and provides offline folder capabilities. It includes integration with Active Directory, cloud drive mapping, global file locking and NTFS permission control. These native integrations make the file sharing solution an extension of the current file server rather than another data silo that takes away data.

Mapped Drive

Mapped drive over the HTTPS channel to the corporate file server is a crucial feature. Employees are familiar with a mapped drive, and no additional training is required.

Active Directory

Corporate users already have corporate identities in Active Directory and related Active Directory federation service and SAML single-sign-on. They don't need yet another set of credentials to access a file-sharing solution.

File Locking

Most file-sharing solutions offer manual file locking in the forms of "file check-in" and "check out." Gladinet provides automatic file locking by detecting file opening requests. When Microsoft Word opens a file, the file locking process will be initiated automatically and finished automatically when the file editing finishes.

File Permissions

Finally, integrating with Active Directory and NTFS permission makes it easier for system administrators to set up the permission control. The permission features make the Gladinet solution stands out among its peers.

You will solve the problems by adding these features to a file server!

Offline Editing

A traditional VPN requires a stable and active connection to the corporate firewall to function. A disruption in the Internet or an interrupted connection to the firewall interrupts employees' work with unsaved files. With offline editing, remote workers can save and edit documents without an active connection and save the files asynchronously to a corporate file server once the connection is restored.

Always On

A firewall vendor typically offers VPN without an always-on feature. Always-on VPN requires more infrastructure components such as identity servers, authentication servers, compatible clients OS, etc. However, most modern cloud applications are always-on, allowing offline access to files and folders and storing files on a local device before synchronizing them with online servers.

High Performance

Accessing file servers is hardly high-performance, because when a VPN serves as an enabler, file access is done via the SMB/CIFS protocol. First of all, the SMB protocol is not a data streaming protocol with many requests and responses. If we can switch to HTTP streaming for file transfer, performance will improve. Second, HTTP-based file transfer traffic can take advantage of a global content delivery network, so HTTP is faster for cross-continent transfer.

Windows & Mac

Remote access to file shares via a drive letter on Windows and a mounted volume on Mac.

On-Demand Synchronization

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

Endpoint Protection

Encrypt remote agent caches or revoke remote agent access privileges from a central management console.

Offline Access

Access shared files and folders in an offline mode, disconnected from the Internet, and synchronize them when back online.

Folder Permissions

Define different permissions for folders at different levels of the directory structure or inherit from NTFS permissions directly.

Hybrid Cloud File Server

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

Active Directory

You can define user rights for folder sharing from internal Active Directory users to external clients and partners.

Version Control

Triofox adds version control and file protection from cloud storage to the local file server.

CLOUD DRIVE SOLVES THE PROBLEMS

Cloud Mobility Features in Conjunction with Local File Server

Triofox extends a file server with a set of SharePoint-like features, including web-based access and file sharing. At the same time, it preserves the file server's file locking, active directory integration, and permission controls. This combination solves the problem of file locking, external references, and folder permissions.

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 Triofox. 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 Triofox. If the file server is retired, Triofox 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 the mapped drive, and no extra training is required.

Enhance Data Security

Data protection comes 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 a laptop with a small local SSD drive.

Private White Labeled Solution

Triofox provides a white-labeled solution that makes it easy for enterprises to build a self-hosted file sharing solution based on current Active Directory and file server infrastructure.

A Private Cloud Alternative

For data privacy, security, and control, Triofox provides a better alternative to Dropbox and SharePoint using any private cloud or on-premise file server network shares.

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