With more and more employees working from home, many businesses seek to move data from their on-premises servers to cloud storage services. One of the more popular cloud storage solutions is Microsoft’s Azure Files – although it presents its own unique set of challenges to companies seeking to serve their remote workforces better. In this blog, we will look at how to improve access to Azure Files.
What Azure Files Is – and Why It’s Popular
Azure Files is a managed file share service for files stored in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform used by large and small businesses for data storage, app hosting, and other purposes. Azure Files allows companies to share files hosted in the cloud with remote employees located anywhere in the world.
Using standard protocols like SMB or NFS, Windows Server administrators can set up access to Azure archives. Users can mount Azure Files directly from the cloud or on-premises servers. Users can access Azure Files from a Windows, macOS, or Linux machine.
Many organizations use Azure Files because it makes it relatively simple to share files via the cloud. It can easily replace on-premises file servers and existing file shares with minimal maintenance. File shares can also be cached on local Windows Servers if desired.
Challenges in Using Azure Files
Azure Files sounds like the perfect solution for organizations with work-at-home employees who need to access files remotely. However, users have discovered that it is less than ideal, with many challenges that impact the service’s ultimate usability.
The biggest challenges in using Azure Files include:
- No native mobile application for access from phones and tablets
- No file locking, which could result in multiple users overwriting each other’s changes
- Potential sync problems with local caching
- Inefficient bandwidth use from repeatedly downloading the same files from the cloud
These issues can result in inefficiencies and, sometimes, corrupted files. They also are keeping many organizations from embracing Azure Files as their remote file sharing solution.
A Real-World Example
One of our clients decided to transfer all of their on-premises data to Azure Files from local file servers. However, after conducting a service test, they discovered several issues due to the lack of file locking and other popular system features.
This client has offices in two different locations, in the U.S. and Dubai, UAE. The client’s file server is in the U.S. The client currently accesses local files at both locations and needs to access U.S.-based files from the Dubai office..
The client needed the same set of files to be present in both locations. The client had to transfer the files from both on-premises sites to a cloud file server to achieve this. The client chose Microsoft Azure Files to accomplish this.
The Azure Files solution appeared to be a viable option. Microsoft’s data center in Dubai is not far from the client’s Dubai office. His US office is also next to the Azure East data center in the United States.
The client began by syncing files from his office in the United States to the Azure cloud but soon ran into Azure’s lack of file locking functionality. People in both the US and Dubai offices were seeing different copies of the same file was inconvenient. Latency issues plagued the client, especially when it came to files syncing.
As a result, the client was forced to seek out another choice. They went with Triofox.
How Triofox Makes it Easier to Access Azure Files
All of these issues are addressed by Triofox, which provides all required file system features for Azure Files, including:
- File locking
- On-demand synchronization
- Instant syncing to the central storage repository
- Efficient bandwidth utilization
- Secure mobile app access
With Triofox, Azure Files becomes much more usable for remote workers. Files are locked during editing so that essential data is never inadvertently overwritten. Azure file shares look just like typically shared folders on users’ devices.
Triofox offers web browser, desktop/laptop, and mobile access. The Triofox mobile app enables users to access files at home from their own mobile devices. Remote access is easy and secure..
Let Triofox Be Your Azure File Sharing Solution
Triofox is a file server enhancement solution that supplements Microsoft’s Azure Files remote file sharing. With Triofox, remote users have secure access to data in Azure Files with all the file locking and synchronization features that ensure safe and efficient operation. Contact Triofox today to learn more about how Triofox can help your organization get more out of Azure Files – and create a more efficient and practical remote workforce.
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