Citrix ShareFile Tech. Prev, Follow me data

Citrix released few days ago the first public technical preview for Citrix ShareFile part of the Follow me Data strategy announced by Citrix CEO during last Synergy in Barcelona. You can download Windows, Mac, Android and iOS clients and register here : link

Citrix acquired ShareFile last year in October 2011 (link) less than six months later we have a Technical Preview to check out.

What is Citrix ShareFile ?

This is an “add-on / plugin” for Citrix Receiver (iOS, Mac, Windows, Android) and it allows you to access, share centralized data and request files from all your devices. This is a “Dropbox like” but design to be enterprise ready. Citrix likes to compare ShareFile to Apple iCloud but it’s not so “iCloud” because you can control what you want to share, you can easily chose what needs to be “synchronized” across all your devices. With iCloud, I know all my music is in iMatch but I would have like to keep private some of it on my computer, now everything is somewhere in the Apple iCloud

  • Make common data services like search, share, sync, secure, authenticate, open and preview available to a wide range of applications, services and use cases through a set of open APIs.
  • Extend secure data sharing services to new and existing apps stored in public and private clouds and accessed from millions of different business and consumer devices.
  • Connect data seamlessly to the way people collaborate today, ensuring that the right documents and files are always accessible when needed, and always up to date.

Where my data, personal and professional are stored ?

With this Technical Preview, all your files are stored “in the Cloud” within the Citrix ShareFile infrastructure. I remember what I saw last October (2011) at Synergy in Barcelona we should be able to store data in our own datacenter. I don’t know any detail yet but this is the feature that will kill DropBox (for the companies that use it)

Local : Yes, the data is store on you devices, Windows and Mac in a dedicated folder but not for the iOS and Android devices which you need to download every time you want to look at a ShareFile document.

Datacenter : Not yet (in the Tech. Prev.)

Cloud : Yes, everything is already stored within the Citrix ShareFile infrastructure

I also remember this slide i saw during Mark T (Citrix CEO) keynote at Synergy Barcelona :

Which already change since Citrix delivered a ShareFile piece of software for Mac as well as for Windows computers and it works the same and has the same features. (FMD API = Follow Me Data API), this is a good change 🙂

I hope everything is clear for you about this new plugin and the role it have and will have in the Citrix Cloud (Data) strategy. To make it short, bringing all the data you need to work with and need to share on all the devices where you have a Citrix Receiver installed.

Now, let’s go through the installation of Citrix ShareFile plugins for Receiver

First Citrix ShareFile for Apple Mac :

David Gaunt (@davijdgaunt) on twitter showed me the right click menu integration on Mac OSx :

Right click menu to send to SherFile folder with Mac OSx, missing feature on Windows

Be careful to don’t use any special character in your ShareFile password like + # or something else because you won’t be able to login.

The menu and icon you got once the installation is done :

Then the Windows Citrix ShareFile plugin installation :

The folder integration in Windows Explorer, it looks like Dropbox

The menu you can see in the Citrix Receiver :

The some iOS (iPad only screenshot)

apps and desktop tab screen, the same
the ShareFile tab
the ShareFile tab to browse the data repository
Citrix Receiver 5.5.1 build 40
configuration panel - note the Docs part

and nothing for iPhone since there is no ShareFile integration (or I didn’t found it yet), for my iPhone ShareFile needs I use the ShareFile apps (you can download here : link)

Here is a video about basic functionality you have in the ShareFile app on the iPhone (Not with Citrix Reveiver tho)

Citrix ShareFile and iPhone from Stephane Thirion on Vimeo.

Let’s make a little Citrix ShareFile “on the filed” scenario to give you some idea the way it can be used.

I’m on my iMac at home and I know I’ll need to work on a PowerPoint presentation for one of my customer, I know I might have to send it and share it with coworkers as well…

Citrix ShareFile from Stephane Thirion on Vimeo.

Those are two small vids I did because some of you won’t have time to play with ShareFile yet and you’ll see how it look like without having to setup a whole lab for that. Of course as it’s a Technical Preview, there is still some issue and many features missing from the original ShareFile app as you can watch in the iPhone video demo.

About the front web hosted by ShareFile, this interface is fully customizable to make it look like your own corporate intranet or website. By just uploading the logo of my company (Activlan), in less than one minute the front web looked nice :

Login window
main screen to access files
other can download this file without having to autheticate if chosen
Twitter integration with the ShareFile (non Citrix) iPhone app

Next screenshot are the mail notification from my company ShareFile account :

Email received to download a file

I made kind of a list about what Citrix should so to improve their product, of course if you some point to add comment and I’ll update the blog !

What Citrix should consider to “make it better”:

  • Linux ShareFile plugin is missing
  • BlackBerry ShareFile plugin is missing too
  • ShareFile for Receiver on iOS look and feel, thumbnail for pictures and pdf files
  • iOS support ok but it’s only for iPad, integration of ShareFile with the iPhone and Citrix Receiver would be great
  • Windows and Mac notification when file is added or deleted (popup)
  • On the Mac ShareFile plugin, when moving out a document, the green synchronize sign remain on the file icon
  • Receiver for iOS, possibility to change the background wallpaper
  • Give more information on the complete Follow Me Data Fabric architecture and products.
  • Windows and Mac ShareFile plugin are missing a notification system
  • Windows and Mac ShareFile plugin are missing Synchronization status (%) and quota utilization
  • The search field doesn’t work in iOS when you’re looking for a document
  • ShareFile for Receiver on iOS is missing the twitter integration (from the orginal ShareFile app)

At last, here is a collection of weird stuff I saw during those tests 🙂

That one is a weird message I got on the ipad while name my file with ï ä and ö
This one is because I had a "+" in my password and there is a bug 🙂
the Doc panel become black, I was moving a bit too fast I think
The same issue as on the iPad when using a password with "+"

Resources:

Citrix ShareFile for Receiver registration and download page : link

Dropbox : link

ShareFile : link

 

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