CentreStack
Enterprise File Sharing

Sync outside the box with this self-hosted, enterprise file sync and share platform.

 
Technical White Paper

CentreStack

Introduction

CentreStack (Gladinet Cloud Enterprise) provides value-added services on top of cloud storage services such as those from OpenStack, Amazon S3 and its compatibles. The value-added services can be summarized into Backup, Access, Sync and Share, Identity, Control and Collaboration (BASIC).

CentreStack is a cluster of web services built on top of the Microsoft Web Platform. It provides the BASIC online storage value-add services for user end point devices like PCs, File Servers, Web Browsers, and Mobile Devices.

Those services can be deployed in flexible combinations to meet different needs. For example, a storage focused use case requires more storage nodes, while one with more collaboration may have better performance with more worker nodes. The cluster of services can also be deployed on a single node, which is the smallest deployment unit.


CentreStack supports various deployment scenarios based on your needs. Please reference the “CentreStack White Paper” for a high level architectural overview of the system, and possible deployment scenarios.

There are three different types of machines (or Virtual Machine). In the smallest deployment unit, the three different logical nodes can co-exists in one single machine.

  • Web Front Node

    The Account Management, Sign-in and Load-balancing services will be installed on this physical machine. Depending on the load, you may need 1 to N such nodes. This is primarily for load balancing purpose. If you have your own load balancer, you can skip web front nodes.

  • Worker Node

    This node will contain services like Web Browser Based File Manager, Storage Service Connectors, and etc. Again, additional nodes can be added as the load increases. Worker nodes are designed to be stateless to facilitate adding nodes on demand to support load increase.

  • Database Node

    Database contains persistent information for the system, such as user name, email, mostly static information. There is also dynamic information such as file change log, audit trace and etc.

The remainder of this document describes components within this CentreStack cluster diagram.

Terminology

Master Admin - In this guide, we refer to the admin user as the user that manages the whole Gladinet Cloud Cluster package. The Master Admin is the very first user that registered with the CentreStack. Typically it is the user who installed the CentreStack.

Tenant User - These are the users who actually use the product, but are the admin for their team. This is the very first team account user. Usually the Tenant User is created by Master Admin. Tenant Users are similar to users who sign up for the Gladinet Cloud service directly from Gladinet.

Team User – Team user is a user under a specific Tenant. Team users are created by the Tenant User.

Access Clients – CentreStack contains various access clients, including Web Browser Based File Manager, Windows Desktop Client, Windows Server Client and Mobile Applications. Through the access clients, end user sees the BASIC value-add services on top of raw storage services. The discussion of the access clients are outside the scope of this technical white paper.

Dependency Components

CentreStack is built on top of Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Server (IIS), .Net Framework 4.5, ASP.NET and SQL Server or SQL Server Express.

SQL Server

SQL Server or SQL Server Express is used to store static configuration information, such as user name, email, storage configuration, files and folders sharing information and etc. It is recommended the SQL Server has daily backup since it holds configuration information for the service to run properly.

.Net Framework 4.5

CentreStack is built with .Net Framework 4.5

ASP.NET

CentreStack web browser user interface is written in ASP.NET, HTML and Javascript.

Internet Information Server

CentreStack is hosted inside Internet Information Server(IIS). It provides brokerage functionalities between the Access Clients and the backend storage. It is also a value-add layer on top of the backend storage.

Recommended Starting Hardware Specification

  • Memory: 8GB
  • Hard Drive: 200G
  • 64-bit platform
  • Windows 2012 R2 or Windows 2012
  • CPU: Intel x64
  • vCPU: 4 (for Physical Machine, 4-core CPU)
  • (This is similar to an Amazon EC2 C3.xlarge specification)

(NOTE: It is recommended using Virtual Machine. Windows 2008 R2 is also supported while we recommend Windows 2012 R2)

Capacity Planning

For concurrent user counts below 1000 (named user ~ 5000) , a single CentreStack server is enough. In this case, you will install the CentreStack Server all-in-one in one single physical or virtual machine. The default CentreStack installer will install all the components in one machine.

For concnrrent user counts above 1000 (or named user ~ 5000) , it is recommended to have SQL Server node in a single physical/virtual machine. The rest of the worker nodes will share the load for the users in a capacity of 1000 con-current-user each. In this case, it is recommended using virtual machine for each worker node and use a wild card SSL certificate for each worker node. Con-current user is defined as users accessing the system in the same 10-second time window. 1000 con-current user is around 5000 - 10000 named user depending on the usage pattern.

Tenant Consideration

CentreStack comes with two different packages, one is for single business, and the other is for service provider.

  • Single Business – Single Active Directory Integration, Single Tenant
  • Service Provider – Multiple Active Directory Integration, Multiple Tenants

Active Directory Integration

There are two user management modes in CentreStack.

In the first mode, the default user manager mode, users are manually created, and active directory users are imported. In this mode, it is possible to have non-Active Directory users and Active Directory users.

In the second mode, the active directory mode, there is no need to create or import user and you can use native Active Directory groups. However, you can’t have non-Active Directory users.

Storage Consideration

In the CentreStack system, for each tenant, there is one mandatory primary storage and there can be multiple optional auxiliary storage services.

If you setup the CentreStack in an Amazon EC2 environment, most of the time, the primary storage is an Amazon S3 bucket.

If you setup the CentreStack on-premise, the primary storage can be your file server storage and the auxiliary storage can be other cloud storage services.

Backup CentreStack

Only the SQL Server database contains persistent configuration information. All the design is stateless and replaceable. In a disaster recovery scenario, as soon as SQL Server is restored, other worker nodes can be re-installed and start working immediately.

Deployment Scenarios

Private On-premise

You can prepare a Windows 2008 Service Pack 2 or R2 server, or a Windows 2012 server and install Gladinet Cloud Enterprise. In this scenario, typically Active Directory is at the same site and primary storage is file server storage or NAS storage.

Private Off-Premise

Normally a managed service provider(MSP) is helping you manage all your IT services, such as hosted exchange server, hosted file server and etc. You can ask the same managed service provider installing the CentreStack for you. It is off-premise but managed by the MSP in their data center.

Virtual Private Cloud

In this deployment scenario, you would deploy the CentreStack solution in a virtual private cloud environment such as Amazon EC2. CentreStack is also available in the form of AMI image to facilitate creation of EC2 instances. In this deployment scenario, typical primary storage connection is to the Amazon S3 storage.

  

See Also

Installable Enterprise Sync & Share Solution

Secure Online Access to Your Private Cloud

Access Cloud Storage with Active Directory Identities

Cloud Sync & Share, Team Collaboration Solution for Managed Service Provider

 
 
 
Additional questions?  Contact Gladinet Support at support@gladinet.com.