iStock_000018458464SmallNetwork mapped drives – you know the ones I’m talking about: your personal H: drive, or the corporate G: drive, maybe you even have a departmental I: drive. Personally, I haven’t used our network share in years, and I doubt that any of our staff have, either. It’s just not…convenient. I mean, the guys are always on the road, engaging with customers across Canada and the US – we’re almost never on the LAN anymore. (By the way, is it just me, or does LAN just sound so 90’s?)

Many years ago, Novell released Teaming, which has since evolved into Vibe. We loved the fact that we could store files in workspaces and access them from anywhere. I could be sitting in a hotel room in Calgary, Alberta and working on my files sitting on my Vibe server back in Montreal, Quebec. Neat! When Novell released the Vibe Desktop about a year ago, well…I could now sync the files I needed to work on to my local drive so I could keep working on them 36,000 feet in the air! When I got to the hotel and connected to the Internet, the Vibe Desktop would just sync them back up to the server. What more could I want? It was pure Happiness!

These past two months, I have been working on the Novell Filr Beta, installing and testing all the different versions, calling in to weekly conference calls to give feedback. There are two reasons I love being part of Beta cycles: 1) I get to learn the software so that I’m ready when it comes out, and 2) it’s fun to see the development and progress being made on a piece of enterprise-class software.

As of this writing, we are currently running on Beta 4; the developers have been doing some amazing work, and I am very impressed by the progress.

So…what exactly is Novell Filr?

Well, in a nutshell, it provides an enterprise level “DropBox” experience for your users, except that the files are stored on your internal network. No clouds. Although “clouds” are all the hot trend, right now, it is stunning how many organizations don’t want their users storing stuff in those puffs of vapour (with apologies to my American readers, but I’m Canadian, so it’s “vapour”, not “vapor”; and while we’re at it, it’s “colour”, not “color”, and “centre”, not “center”!)

Now, if that’s ALL it did, it would already be great for a lot of people we’ve been showing this to. However, Filr also has the capability of exposing any directory on your existing network file systems so that users can access them from anywhere!

Let me give you an example: on our internal network, we have a Novell Open Enterprise Server with a volume named “Data” (I know: “how creative”!). This volume dates from way back to pre-Vibe days, and still contains a certain measure of files and directories. DATA:/Data/Vendors/Novell is one of those. We used to store price lists, product PDFs, manuals and all sorts of other files in there.

Well, this past week I was playing around with Filr, and I realized that, “Hey! Now I can use those folders again, ’cause Filr gives me access to them from anywhere!” Despite having and heavily using Vibe, there are always files that don’t seem to fit into a given mould, and I always wonder where to put them. I started cleaning up the Novell folder – the most recent files in there were dated from 2008, which gives you an idea of long it’s been since we’ve used these folders! I updated a bunch of documents, uploaded some new material, and voila! A usable file repository again!

DATA:Data/Vendors/Novell accessible through a web browser…

Now I can access these files from anywhere – and from any device, including my iPad and my Android phone.

And of course, the Filr Desktop client allows me to sync any given network folder down to my local drive so I can keep working on them offline:

The same folder, synched to my local drive!

The same folder, synched to my local drive!

Easy, secure and convenient!

Novell Filr is making me re-discover my shared network storage and making it practical to work with that again. I imagine that once it’s released at the end of April, it’s going to do the same for A LOT of people!

And of course, as soon as Filr is released, Adaris will be ready to help organizations implement is quickly andsuccessfully with our filr:Advantage offering.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Filr 1.0 was released on April 30th and is now generally available!!

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