Do you have field technicians who need access to large building drawings and files?
Do you have designers who work from home but need access to large Photoshop files?
And these large files are stored on an on-premises file server that is not suitable for remote access?
Many companies have employees working in different cities and locations. To access the company's file servers, they usually resort to either a virtual private network (VPN) or remote desktop (RDP). Once the VPN or RDP connections are established, remote workers typically access the traditional mapped drive to access files and folders. File access is usually slow over the Internet, and if there is a network disruption, file access is interrupted.
A traditional VPN requires a stable and active connection to the corporate firewall to function. A disruption of 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.
A firewall provider typically offers VPN without an always-on feature. Always-on VPN requires more infrastructure components, such as an identity server, an authentication server, a compatible client OS, etc. However, most modern cloud applications are always-on, allow offline access to files and folders, and allow files to be stored on a local device before being synchronized with the online servers.
Accessing file servers is hardly high performance, because when a VPN allows it, file access communicates 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.
Offline editing, always-on and high performance are three key features that remote workers need from a VPN-less remote file access solution. Local file caching is an important method that provides the foundation for all three features. If your files already exist locally on your remote devices, access time is significantly reduced, increasing performance. HTTP streaming is another method to increase performance when transferring files. Parallelism is another method to increase file transfer throughput.
With a VPN solution, every time a file or folder is needed, the remote device must travel all the way back to the corporate network via a VPN and retrieve the contents of the files and folders. A better way to speed up file transfers is to store a copy of the file or folder contents on remote employee desktops or laptops while monitoring file changes ("delta"). For files and folders that are already cached locally, file access can retrieve the files locally without having to go all the way back to the corporate network. Local file caching is also the basis for offline editing.
With a VPN solution, every time a file or folder is needed, the remote device must rely on a file transfer protocol called SMB/CIFS for file transfer. The older versions of SMB protocols are very chatty, meaning each request block requires a confirmation between the client and the server. This request-confirmation round-robin increases the time required for file transfer. File streaming means that an end can begin sending block after block of file content without waiting for immediate acknowledgement of each block, which is called streaming without blocking. Even though the newer SMB 3.0 protocol supports file streaming, there are always protocol negotiations for backward compatibility, which can result in using a slower version of the SMB protocol. In contrast, files transferred over HTTP are streamed by default.
When transferring a large folder to corporate file servers, network bandwidth is typically greater than required to transfer a single file. If files can be transferred in parallel, this can increase network bandwidth without affecting normal day-to-day operations such as web browsing. Depending on the network speed and bandwidth, increasing the parallel upload by 2 to 10 threads can increase the overall transfer speed and decrease the time it takes to transfer files and folders.
In contrast to the three methods mentioned above, which are used as the basis for accelerating file transfer for remote work. There are other methods that are used for different purposes. For example, with HTTP streaming, if the data is stored in Amazon S3, there is global acceleration to route the traffic through Amazon's global data centers. Or if you use Cloudflare, you can also use Cloudflare's global network to accelerate file transfers. In Amazon S3 or Azure Blob, there is also multipart file transfer to increase parallelism and reduce errors. There is also rsync to calculate a binary difference so that only the small changed blocks are transferred.
Gladinet's Triofox solution makes the cloud file access solution interoperable with existing file server network shares and provides offline folder capabilities. It has 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.
A mapped drive over the HTTPS channel to the corporate file server is an important feature. Employees are familiar with a mapped drive and no additional training is required.
Enterprise users already have enterprise identities in Active Directory and the associated Active Directory federated service and SAML single sign-on. They do not need additional credentials to access a file sharing solution.
Most file sharing solutions provide manual file locking in the form of "check in" and "check out". Triofox provides automatic file locking by detecting requests to open files. When Microsoft Word opens a file, file locking is automatically initiated and automatically terminated when file processing is complete.
Finally, integration with Active Directory and NTFS permissions makes it easier for system administrators to set up permission control. The permissions features set Gladinet's solution apart from the competition.