We utilize VMware View for all of our demos at RoundTower. We’ve also given desktops to a few of our sales reps if they need to do some work in the lab. One of them came to me recently and asked, “How can I send files to and from my desktop?” A simple question. My immediate thought was to connect a thumb drive to the endpoint and USB map the device to the VM and it should so up as a virtual disk, right? Well yes it does, trying to explain this procedure to a sales rep was met with some resistance. There were multiple steps involved. I thought about it for a minute and suggested Dropbox.
The engineers at RoundTower have used Dropbox for a while. Those with a iPhone or iPad typically know about it. It allows you to run a small piece of software on your PC or Mac and sync a directory and everything in it between any and all machines that you have the agent installed on. Let me explain, theres a directory on your harddrive and everything you put in it gets copied to a storage cloud over https. If you have it installed and another PC (or Mac) the files will immediately copy down to the directory on that computer. If you delete the file from either side, it automatically removes it from the other. It could be a slew of devices and they all automatically sync the directory. Great stuff if you want to move files to multiple locations. You get 2GB for free to try it and can sign up here.
Back to my problem. I sent the rep the link to sign up and then explained briefly how to install the agent on his laptop. I took the liberty of installing it on the base image of our desktop pool and recomposed the pool. I can report that Dropbox works great with user data disks by default. All of the settings are stored in the user hive of the registry and the default replicated directory is underneath My Documents. Perfect setup. The rep called me back a little later to report that it had worked great and he could move his files back and forth easily to work on them.
A couple of caveats to look out for if you do decide to try this combination:
- Make sure your storage has enough room. We use 2GB user data disks. Dropbox starts at 2GB so a user could easily fill the data disk if they store too much in their remote dropbox. It will not fill the disk completely and will warn you if it gets close but the user may not pay attention.
- Make sure your company allows their information to be shared with the cloud in this manner. Some companies are very sensitive to their documentation and will not permit it. Never expect your users to police themselves.
- Make sure that your users understand that you do not support docs in the cloud. If they delete something that’s in it by accident, they will be responsible to restore it. They can restore deleted files for a short time by logging in at dropbox.com.
For smaller lab environments like ours, it’s a great solution to move files back and forth easily and quickly. I highly recommend it.