Azure Blob Storage
Files.com's integration with Azure Blob Storage allows you to integrate with files on a Azure Blob Storage bucket in several different ways.
Files.com's Remote Server Mount feature gives you the ability connect a specific folder on Files.com to the remote server in a real time manner.
That folder then becomes a client, or window, accessing the files stored in your remote server or cloud.
Once you configure a Mount, any operation you perform on or inside that folder will act directly on the remote in real time. Whether you are dropping a file into that folder, deleting a file, creating a subfolder, or performing any other file/folder operations your Files.com user has permissions for, those operations will "pass through" to the remote in real time.
This powerful feature enables a wide variety of use cases such as accessing files on a counterparty (client or vendor)'s cloud without provisioning individual access to individual users, reducing storage costs by leveraging on-premise or bulk storage solutions, enabling applications to access 3rd party clouds via Files.com API, FTP, SFTP, or Files.com Apps and many more.
Alternatively, Files.com's Remote Server Sync feature give you the ability to push or pull files to or from remote servers. This means that the files will exist in both places at the end of the sync process.
A remote sync can be a "push", where files from your Files.com site are transferred to the remote server, a "pull" where files are transferred from the remote server to your Files.com site, or a two-way "sync" where files that are new or changed in either location are pushed and pulled to maintain a synchronized state between the folder on your Files.com site and that on the remote server.
Type "Remote servers" in the search box at the top of every page, and then click on the matching result. Click the Add new remote server button and select Azure Blob Storage.
Unlike Amazon S3, Azure Blob container names are not globally unique, so we need to know the Account and Container name in order to connect to your Blob storage. Files.com can authenticate to Azure Blob Storage using Access Key or Shared Access Signature (SAS) token.
The following items are required for connecting Files.com to Azure Blob Storage:
Internal name for this connection - An internal identifier to refer to this connection.
Account - The name of your Azure Storage Account, as shown in your Microsoft Azure web portal > Home > Storage Accounts page.
Container - The name of your Azure Container, as shown in your Microsoft Azure web portal > Home > Storage Accounts > selected storage account > Containers page.
Test Path for Bucket/Container: This is an optional field for full path of the container. This field is useful when the user credentials provided do not have root access on the remote bucket/container.
Access Key or Shared Access Signature (SAS) Token - The Access Key, or SAS Token, for the selected Azure storage account, as shown in your Microsoft Azure web portal > Home > Storage Accounts > selected storage account > Access Keys, or Microsoft Azure web portal > Home > Storage Accounts > selected storage account > Shared Access Signature page.
Files.com does not currently provide for pass-through authentication to Azure Blob Storage via Azure AD if you are also using Azure AD with Files.com. However, we would love to learn more about the use-case of any customer that might be interested in such a capability.
Once your Remote Server is added, now you need to integrate it to Files.com as either a Remote Server Mount or Remote Server Sync.
Both the Access Key and the Shared Access Signature (SAS) Token provide secure authentication and authorization to Azure. Whichever method you choose ultimately depends on whichever best fits your requirements. Please consult with your security team to determine which method will best fit your needs.
Generally speaking, the Access Key provides a global, root-like, permission to your Azure Blob. It should be the preferred method when your Blob will only be used by Files.com and doesn't have to share access permissions with other users or solutions.
The Shared Access Signature (SAS) Token provides a restricted, user-like, permission to your Azure Blob. It should be the preferred method when your Blob will be shared by multiple users or solutions. The Shared Access Signature (SAS) Token can more granularly limit access to specific parts of your Blob, allowing better segregation of access to data.
If in doubt, we recommend using a Shared Access Signature (SAS) Token due to its more granular security controls.
Remote Server Mounts are created by mounting them onto an empty folder in Files.com. This folder should ideally not be the Root of your site, although that is supported if you need it.
From the Files icon on the left, navigate to the location where you want the mounted folder to be and create a new folder. Navigate into the newly created folder and click the Folder Settings button on the top right.
Select Remote Server Mount from the list and click Add new remote server mount button. Select the remote server.
Choose the Remote folder, which is the portion of the remote file system that will be mounted into this folder on Files.com. You can either by leave the default "/" (i.e., the remote server's root directory) or click on Choose a different folder link and navigate to the remote folder you want to this folder to connect to.
Click the Save button. The folder will reload and immediately list the remote folders/files from the selected remote path.
If you instead prefer to do a Sync with the remote, follow these directions.
From Files, navigate into the folder where you would like to add the remote server sync and click Folder settings > Sync to/from remote server.
Click the Add new remote server sync button to reveal the form.
Select the server you would like to transfer to or from by clicking on the Remote server menu.
Next choose your Sync direction. You have three choices:
- Push to the remote server: This option uploads files and folders from your designated folder in your Files.com site to the remote server.
- Pull from the remote server: This option downloads files from the remote server and saves them in your designated folder in your Files.com site.
- Two-way sync: this option checks for new files, deleted files, and changed modification dates on both servers and then pushes and pulls as needed to keep the folders synchronized on both servers.
You have the option to delete files on the source server after a push or pull. Use the After copying menu to select whether you would like files that are successfully transferred to be deleted from or kept on the source server.
Enter the remote path to or from which you would like files and folders transferred, starting after the folder/directory your remote user lands in upon authentication.
For example: if the remote server has a folder structure folderA/folderB/folderC, and the user credentials that you have configured your sync server to log in with automatically land that user inside folderA, then to properly configure your sync folder behavior to transfer files to or from folderC, you would enter the path as folderB/folderC.
Certain remotes that use OAuth for authentication may require regular rotation of your credentials. When this is needed, you will see an alert in the top left of the web interface. You can click the link in that alert to re-authenticate and re-establish the connection to the remote.
Files.com provides an MD5 Checksum of each file. This allows you to easily prove that the file was uploaded correctly and matches the original source file. When 2 files have the same MD5, the is a near certain chance that those files are identical.
The MD5 checksum that Files.com provides is the actual MD5 checksum represented as a sequence of 32 hexadecimal digits. If you are comparing MD5s provided by Files.com with MD5 checksums provided by Azure, you'll find them to be different.
Azure displays MD5 checksums as a base64-encoded byte array.
In order to compare the checksum from Files.com with the checksum from Azure, you'll first need to convert the checksum from Files.com to a byte array, and then base64 encode that. The result should then match the checksum from Azure.
Be aware of case sensitivity differences when copying, moving, or syncing files and folders between Azure Blob storage and other storage locations. Azure Blob storage is a case sensitive system whereas other systems may not be. This can cause files to be overwritten, and folders to have their contents merged, if their case insensitive names are a match.
Azure Blob Storage is not a hierarchical file system and does not use directories (folders) to organize files. Files and data are stored in a Binary Large Object (BLOB or blob) but are presented in the illusion of a hierarchical file system.
This becomes most apparent when creating, syncing, or uploading an empty folder to Azure Blob Storage.
Azure Blob Storage will represent an empty folder as a zero-byte file of the same name.
Azure will manage these zero-byte files, and their corresponding empty folders, itself. However these zero-byte files may present themselves to other programs, applications, and services that use the Azure Blob. They should be considered a "normal" side effect of using Blob storage.
Files.com follows the same conventions used by other software to emulate folders on these non-hierarchical file systems. We aim to interoperate using as many reasonable conventions, standards, and best practices, as possible.
An Azure Blob container can be configured for use as a Data Lake by enabling the Hierarchical Namespace option for the container. When connecting to a container that has been configured with Hierarchical Namespace, make sure to select the Use Hierarchical Namespace (Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2) option when configuring the Remote Server.
If you try to connect to an Azure Blob container that has not been enabled with the Hierarchical Namespace option, and have selected the Use Hierarchical Namespace (Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2) option then, when attempting to delete folders contained within the Azure Blob, you may see errors such as
Cannot delete a directory. You may need to enable 'azure_blob_storage_hierarchical_namespace' setting on your remote server if you have the hierarchical namespace feature enabled on your azure storage account.
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