Different by design: iFolder and Filr Part 2

Different by design: iFolder and Filr Part 2

In a previous blog, we discussed how Novell® Filr represents the future of Novell file syncing technology. Though you can continue to use Novell iFolder® with confidence and we’ll continue to support it, we are not planning further development. We’ll be focusing our resources on developing Filr. We also mentioned that we’d go a little more in depth on the differences between the two solutions.

To understand the differences between iFolder and Filr, it helps to understand that they were built on different architectures. While iFolder uses its own, closed file repository, Filr lets you access what you already have on your file servers.

Novell iFolder was created and built as a desktop sync tool to allow your users access to their files from any computer. Filr also provides desktop syncing, but it is intended to fill a much broader need, starting with mobile file access for that growing universe of devices that keeps making its way into your IT ecosystem. Filr provides you with a solution that is enterprise grade and gives users access to their files wherever they are, from any device. The beauty behind this solution is that IT retains control over which files and folders users can access on the go, as well as which files they can share. Here’s a quick overview of what these differences mean:

Where the Files Live: Folders in iFolder can live anywhere and iFolder will sync them across your computers. This gives users a lot of flexibility—they could put files and folders all over the place. But with that flexibility can come a certain amount of chaos. With Filr, there’s a central home for all a user’s files. You can switch between My Files, Shared by Me and Shared with Me, but no matter what the file, you’ll know where to look (and the Filr search function will be able to find it). Filr is the connection between users and their universe of files. With iFolder, users populate or convert their iFolders. With Filr, the files are already there.

Managing the Backend: Because iFolder relied on its own closed repository, it required management from IT. IT had to assign storage quotas and perform other basic storage tasks to keep iFolder running. Because Filr simply accesses files you already have within your current infrastructure, IT is already managing all the storage and policies it needs to.

Encryption: One of the things iFolder has which Filr does not have is encryption. You can always use a third-party tool to encrypt individual Filr files, but the program itself does not offer encryption today. As with other features, the ability to encrypt files or folders is something we could add to Filr in the future, though the difference in architecture between the two solutions means the encryption would likely be implemented differently from the encryption in iFolder.

Clients: Unlike iFolder, Filr does not have a Linux desktop client. You can currently use a web browser or a WebDAV client to access Filr files on a Linux desktop. We could add a Linux desktop client for Filr, and will prioritize this feature based on customer feedback. If you want a Linux client, let us know!

We’re already committing to certain major updates to Filr, but many will be based on the feedback we receive from customers. It’s important we hear from you. Leave a comment here or email me at colsen@novell.com Also, if Filr can’t replace iFolder for you, we’d like to know why.

While iFolder has served and continues to serve all of us well, the surge in mobile workers means organizations need a solution like Novell Filr. We hope all of you will give it a try. If you have Novell Open Enterprise Server you’re already entitled to Filr, so there’s no reason not to test it out.
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How do iFolder3 and the Filr client behave when installed on the same Windows PC?
We definitely want a Linux desktop client!
This makes no sense. Novell sells SLED and SLES but there is no Filr client for Linux. I would think that it would be the first OS to have the client available.
All of us Novell engineers and admins that run a linux desktop cant use Filr (have you tried the webdav way??)

Which means we dont recommend it to our users or customers as we cant eat our own dog food.

So for us, Filr has been a nonstarter without a linux client.
We rely on iFolder as a backup solution for our Windows clients. It has saved us from file loss on too many occasions to give up that functionality.

If Filr can serve that purpose then we would be all IN!
We want a Linux Client.
Me too, but, good luck. Novell seems to have forgotten about Linux as a client for any of their software. I'm still waiting on an updated OES Client, Groupwise Client, etc etc....
Encryption is a must before we deploy filr... so until that time... no thanks.
We have deployed filr but we are discouraging the deployment of the Windows and Mac desktop client since they don't have local encryption, which eliminates a lot of useful features for our users. They have added some encryption to the Android, iOS and Windows APPS.

We too would like to see it in the Desktop clients. Full disk encryption isn't an option for our environment.
I'd like to see the following -
* Local data encryption was mentioned for a future release. I see that the mobile apps have some support being added but I haven't heard an update on encryption for the desktop software.
* File locking/checkout (On roadmap I believe)
* File versioning support.
* Additional branding options, including a new main landing web page that has links to all apps, places for our logo, a few text blocks, links to current documentation, videos for basic use, and then the login dialog for the web access. This would be an easily branded hybrid page of the current Novell Filr Client Downloads page and the Filr login page. This would add major flair to any Filr deployment vs. the standard login page. Allow the desktop client download links to be turned on/off from this branding hybrid landing page.
* Improved online editing - Document Co-editing using Libre Office or Microsoft Office. Include Libre Office as on online document solution using Filr as the back end. Much like Google Docs but self-hosted storing data on the internal IT infrastructure.
* Integration with other cloud solutions with full tracking. (DropBox for Business, Google Drive, OneDrive.) By integrating for access but allowing IT to track what data is shared, you offer users access they want, while allowing IT to still secure the data.
* Document routing/digital signing solution. With the number of paper forms many agencies still use, I've yet to see a simple document routing/approval system that is primarily based on an existing file storage system.
* Filr Linux client

Hopefully, others are also asking for these features. Filr has a very strong foundation and offers some wonderful functionality to a non-outsourced environment. I'd love to see some the above features added to the roadmap and watch Filr mature to become a solution that allows a well round self-hosted solution in this day of outsourcing.
Be sure to go vote for the encryption idea on thge new Filr improvement site.

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