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Anyone that know of an on-line file storage that could be used to replace the functionality of a network file server?

Background:
We have a small decentralized company. We use version control (subversion) for all source code and for all support files that we need to ship our software. All the documentation is one the web as well.

The problem:
We have not solved how to share other documents in a good way. We are currently using a lot of SFTP to our Linux server which is tedious.

I think we are looking for a service that can be used mounted as a remote drive and accessed through a web browser (for use on temporary computers). We do have a Linux VPN server that could host this, but we are probably looking for a service.

We are located in Sweden - but just tip on what technique we are looking for is helpful.

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10 Answers

FUSE (Filesystem in USEr Space) is a pretty simple solution here. You can mount the files on any ssh account as if they were a local drive. I'm not sure what kind of machines you're running so here's some solutions for the main systems:

Linux - sshfs : http://fuse.sourceforge.net/sshfs.html

Mac OSX - expandrive : http://www.expandrive.com/mac

Windows - expandrive : http://www.expandrive.com/windows

I've never used expandrive for windows, but the mac client is fantastic.

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+1 Expandrive (formerly SFTPDrive) is awesome on both platforms –  ninesided May 12 '09 at 1:25
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You could quite easily setup samba on your linux file server and share the directories that way. It would allow you to mount the shares, control permissioning, and not drastically change the way you are currently setup.

Here is a link to the current official how to guide to setup Samba: http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/man/Samba-HOWTO-Collection/

If you want a quick test to see how it would work linux.com has a quick & dirty setup guide: http://www.linux.com/articles/58593

I might be able to point you in the right direction a bit better if I was aware of what distribution you use.

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Drop.IO may be of interest.

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You might want to look at Dropbox.

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For a small group of users, you could use Windows Live Sync.

Basically it would let each user set up a shared folder on their computer and automatically sync files when they are changed. Works great and they have versions for Windows and Mac. I have used it for years and love the functionality.

The only caveat is that it would have issues if these are files that more than one person edits often. If a file gets edited simultaneously on two computers, you will end up with two versions.

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At my organization, we are loading up an instance of (DocMgr). It's free, runs against Postgresql, keeps revisions of documents, OCR, indexing, relevance searching. It can easily be tweaked to run against MySQL. The project has been stagnant for a while, but development is picking back up.

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You may want to consider a real Document Management system. These days there are hosted web-based ones available such as DocuVantage which are very cheap and take no time to setup.

With these systems you get more than just file storage. You get version control (can go back to last version), security so you can control access, custom metadata and searching on metadata, full content search of the documents, can tie approval processes to documents, can scan documents in the web interface into the system, can get notifications when documents are viewed or modified.

I'm sure I'm missing some features.

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Adrive sounds like a good solution for you, maybe even the free version will suit your needs.

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If you're on a VPN, use WebDAV. It's supported by every OS out there, is simple and reasonably reliable.

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I don't know which of Tahoe distributed filesystem or OpenAFS is the most adapted to your setup. Also, if it is only for documents sharing, you should perhaps take a look at KnowledgeTree or AlFresco.

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