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Kerio Workspace as a Fileserver

Kerio® Workspace is no longer sold or available as a free edition. However, everything mentioned here can be done with Kerio Samepage, which is available through me at a reduced price..

I bet you have a fileserver. It doesn't matter whether you run Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. It doesn't matter if you are protecting the files with passwords, domain authentication or just leaving them wide open. I don't care if you have two people accessing those files or twenty or more: I think Kerio Workspace just might be a better way for you to handle those files.

Actually, it can do much more than this, but we'll ignore that for now. Let's just look at one function, the "File Library" and see what that gives us over a typical file server.

Bear with me, because this may be a little disorienting at first. Workspace uses some odd terminology and because you access through a web browser, it may be hard to think of this as a fileserver. However, it can do that and it does it very well.

Access Control

With Workspace, we can set whatever level of sharing we want for any component, but we do need to understand how the components work. The terminology here is "Space" - if we want to store files, we first create a "Space" to do that in.

Here, the Space is named "File Server" and it contains two pages, "Accounting" and "Sales"

You'll be forgiven if your first assumption is that this is just silly nomenclature. These look like directories or folders, right? Why not just call them that?

Well, they aren't quite like folders, but it's OK to think of them that way for now. If you were only going to use Workspace as a file server, these things do act like folders, although there is one very important difference with regard to permissions. The picture above is that of a user called Fred, but if we instead log into Workspace with my login, we see something very different:

Notice that "Tony" sees many more Spaces and - this is important - inside that File Server space, he sees another "folder" (we call it a "Page", though).

That's one immediate difference between a typical file server and Workspace: Fred doesn't even see things he doesn't have at least "Read" permissions on. That's good both for clutter (Fred sees only things he needs to see) and for security - Fred doesn't need to know that there's a Page called "July salary worksheet".

In this case, Fred gets to see the "File Server" Space, but he does not see the "Support" page that is inside it. Mary might only see "Accounting" and the kid that runs errands sees none of this at all. You have very fine grained control, including by groups. As Workspace can either use manually entered users or draw from a directory service (Windows or Mac), your permissions can be as tight or as loose as you need them to be.

Preview

Let's go back to Fred. Fred sees a file he needs some information from. What can Fred do?

Well, with a tradional fileserver, he can download it or open it in place. Assuming that he has permissions, he can update the file with new information or overwrite it entirely or even delete it. He can do those things with Workspace (though we'll have much more to say about that shortly), but for many files, he also has another choice: Preview.

For common file formats ( TXT and HTML files, MS Office document types: DOC, XLS, PPT, DOCX, XLSX and PPTX, OpenOffice documents, JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and PDF), Workspace can show the file contents without the overhead of opening any other program. You always have the option of downloading, editing or viewing a readonly copy, depending on permissions set in Workspace, but for a quick look-see, this is a very handy feature.

Desktop Client and Synchronization

If the file is not a format that Workspace can preview, you'll get a screen that tells you that and you can proceed to download it or edit it using your desktop applications. There's a free Desktop Client that sits between Workspace and your local apps; if you edit the document, that client asks you what you want to do with your changes:

Workspace file editing

Even better is that if you have uploaded a folder (as opposed to one file) and tell Workspace to keep it synchronized with your computer, anything you add to the synch folder (will be found under Kerio Workspace) automatically uploads to Workspace. This means that all the other people who have access to that will see files as you add them.

Note: this is the new folder that Kerio creates under the Kerio Workspace hierarchy, not the original folder that you chose to upload. If you always drag files to Workspace, you'll never be confused, but it's easy to forget that when working outside of Workspace.

Version Control

Unless you happen to be using a file server that supports version control, if Fred did change that file, you've lost whatever earlier versions you had. Not so with Workspace: every file version is available:

Item cleanout

Deleted files are still available also:

You may not want to keep dozens of versions or really old deletions:

Metadata

Workspace currently doesn't include original file metadata (dates, ownership, and so on). I've suggested that this should be included, but for now at least, if you need this sort of information, you can add it as a comment to each file. In some ways that's even better, because you can include any relevant information and it will be noticed when searching. However, I do think that the orginal metadata should be brought in or at least have that as an option.

Searching

You have to actually see this to believe it. Workspace searching is very, very fast. Of course that partly comes from not bothering to search in places the user has no perms, but I want you to notice something more about these results:

In addition to finding results in the File Server Space, there are pages from other spaces listed here. Those are Spaces Fred doesn't have permissions for (and therefore they do not show up with his login), but he DOES have at least Read permission to specific Pages in those spaces. This lets us give Fred access without cluttering his login page - these might be things he doesn't really "need", but that might be helpful to him when he is searching for something in the File Server.

This is only the tip of the iceberg

Kerio Workspace can do much, much more, but I hope you can see that even if this represented all that it could do for you, it's a big improvement over a traditional file server.

If you'd like to see more, I'm happy to arrange a demo or you can download a free, 30 day trial and see for yourself.



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Mon Jun 11 16:52:45 2012: 11084   TonyLawrence

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Although the Kerio website has not yet been updated as I write this, Kerio is now offering a Workspace 2.0 Starter Edition. This is similar to the 30 day trials, but it never expires, has unlimited users, and is only limited as to disk space used. If unregistered, this version will only allow 5GB. If registered with Kerio, it allows 10GB.

This is ideal for small departments or for home use. You can also access a tutorial at (link) (login tutorial, password tutorial).

Should you decide you need more than 10GB of storage, Workspace is $30 per user or less.



Tue Jun 18 20:40:23 2013: 12138   TonyLawrence

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People who bought Workspace may want to know this about switching to Samepage:

( see (link) )

Workspace Commercial Edition customers
75% discount off current (or future) paid yearly rate plans
$25/user/year
(based on current Premium yearly plan)
yearly rate plans only
lifetime discount

Registered Workspace Starter Edition customers
50% discount off current (or future) paid yearly rate plans
$50/user/year
(based on current Premium yearly plan)
yearly rate plans only
lifetime discount
offer valid through December 31, 2013

Additional notes...
Workspace Commercial Edition customers will be given a free Samepage Premium Plan subscription until expiration date of their paid Workspace SWM period (valid for number of users on existing Workspace Commercial Edition)
75% discount applies after free subscription period ends
discount applies to initial and future purchases (new users, renewals, etc.)

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