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Ctera Networks' enterprise file-sharing services gain intelligent cache

The latest version of Ctera's file-sharing software takes the sync out of sync-and-share with intelligent caching built into Enterprise File Services Platform 6.

Ctera Networks has enhanced the data-sharing capability of its enterprise file sync-and-share product, so users can assess files in the cloud as if they were stored locally.

Ctera this week said it has added intelligent caching to its Enterprise File Services Platform 6. The Ctera file-sharing platform can now cache an unlimited number of files dynamically, so users can access, share and protect them as if the files reside on desktop and shared network drives.

The cache works from Ctera Networks cloud drives or gateways to provide native file access.

George Crump, founder of analyst firm Storage Switzerland LLC, said the latest version of the Ctera Networks file-sharing software removes much of the synchronization from the process. Previously, a user who wanted to share a file needed to put that file into the directory that was synchronized with other users for enterprise file sync and share (EFSS).

"The entire directory containing the file was then synchronized to that user's laptop or desktop, or to the gateway offering them NAS file services," Crump wrote in a blog. "Users wanting to collaborate a lot ended up synchronizing a lot of data to each other, resulting in a lot of files being synchronized to a lot of locations -- even though those locations may never access those files."

Crump wrote that storage capacity could constrain the amount of data that could be shared before, because all files inside a directory were synchronized to desktops, laptops and the gateways.

"That means they had to have enough storage for all files, whether they needed them or not, or were actively using them," he wrote. "There are advantages to treating the private or public cloud copy as the copy of record and the local copy as simply a cached copy. It solves the multiple editors' problem by locking the file in making sure users don't edit the same file at the same time."

Tom Grave, Ctera's senior vice president of marketing, said when users would click on a file in previous Ctera file-sharing versions, the process of populating the data would require going across the network.

"With caching, users can see and access all the content as if it is run locally," Grave said. "Suddenly, any endpoint device becomes an access point to the global file system. What changes with the cache is workers can see all the drives and folders for the entire organization."

The new Ctera Networks file-sharing services version preserves the enterprise file access control lists across office file servers, desktops and even mobile devices. That feature is important to enterprises because it tracks access rights of each user to specific files.

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