File Transfers – Overcoming the Challenge

By Danielle Arad - March 27, 2012

Here at Cloudshare, we get lots of questions about moving files, content and applications into your ProPlus VMs. And in response, we explain that the Cloudshare application has two facilities for accomplishing this: File Sharing and Cloud Folders.

File Sharing is a convenient, simple way to move files from your local mounted drives to your VM. When you enable File Sharing, your local drives will appear as mounted volumes in your VM, right alongside the VM’s own drives. This will allow you to use a simple drag and drop process to move some content quickly and easily. But you have to remember – this is just pushing bits across an RDP connection. There is no underlying file transfer protocol or even a true network connection – while simple and convenient, File Sharing may not be an appropriate method for moving larger amounts of data.

So Cloudshare also provides each Environment with a Cloud Folder. A cloud folder is really just 5GB of storage in your environment that you can access using good old FTP. You start up your FTP client (I like Filezilla, but you can use your favorite, even the venerable command-line FTP included in most Operating Systems), put in your Cloud Folder’s username and password, and transfer up to 5GBs. It’s fast, and since you’re using an FTP application, this happens in the background while you’re working on something else. And when the transfer is complete, just double click the Cloud Folder icon on the desktop of your VM and voila! There are your files, ready to be copied down into the VMs in your Environment.

[Protip: Before starting an FTP transfer, especially a fairly large one, it’s a good idea to click the “Extend” button to extend your Environment suspension timeout to 3 hours.]

So that’s it, right? Those are your options for transferring files into your ProPlus VMs? Actually, no. Not at all – those are merely the options provided by the Cloudshare application. YOU, as the owner and administrator of those VMs, have LOTS of other options for transferring files.

The easiest way is to get your files the same way you do with your non-virtual computers. Log into your Cloudshare VM, fire up a full-screen RDP session and start your favorite browser. Grab your apps from the web, your data from Dropbox or Box.net, your pictures from Flickr, your documents from Google Docs. If you have internet – accessible storage at home (I use a PogoPlug, but there are lots of options), you can grab the files you need from there. I also keep a lot of stuff I frequently need on my webserver. I can just type in the URL and transfer the files I need over HTTP.

So the best way to think about your Cloudshare VMs is to not think of them as virtual machines. Think of them as just another computer you can use in exactly the same way as all you other machines. It just happens to be one where somebody else has to deal with the actual hardware.