- You can read Part 2 here.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud platform that provides a wide range of storage options, includes Glacier and Simple Storage Service (S3). There are options such as Simple Storage Service (S3) and Glacier, as well as Elastic Block Stores (EBS) that can be used to store data. What if you just want to upload documents to AWS and make them available to your end users? You can set up an Elastic Comput Cloud (EC2) instance to serve as a file server. This option is a good one, but it might not be the best. This approach may result in higher costs and a greater management burden depending on your needs and existing infrastructure. WorkDocs is a simpler and perhaps less costly alternative. WorkDocs is AWS’ enterprise storage and sharing service. Although it’s tempting to think WorkDocs is a cloud-based fileserver, I prefer to think of WorkDocs more as a content management system. WorkDocs reminds of SharePoint document libraries. How can I distinguish between a file server or a content management platform? A file server is a repository that can store files. WorkDocs, a content management system that supports a limited number file types, is specifically designed to facilitate document collaboration. WorkDocs is easy to set up in AWS. Even so, I won’t be able cover the entire procedure in one column. This installment will help you get started and guide you through setting up Active Directory (AD). In the second part, I will show you how to access and implement WorkDocs. Log in to the AWS console and click on the WorkDocs link at the AWS Services screen. While WorkDocs is sometimes described in AWS documentation as a storage service (e.g., the AWS home screen), WorkDocs is currently listed under the Business Productivity section. Click on the Get Started Now button when you arrive at WorkDocs screen. Figure 1 shows that the Get Started with WorkDocs screen has two options: a Quick Start option and a Standard Setup option. The Quick Start option will get you up and running in less time than 10 minutes. However, the Standard Setup option offers more flexibility. The Standard Setup is my favorite because it allows you tie the WorkDocs website into your on-premises directory. The Standard Setup will be used for this column. [Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 1: You have two options for setting up your computer. Click the Launch button to take you to the Set Up a Directory screen. Figure 2 shows the process. This figure shows that there are three steps to setting up a directory environment. First, you need to create a directory. [Click on the image to see a larger version.] Figure 2: It takes three steps to set up WorkDocs. The screen above shows you two options to set up a directory. The first option is to create an Active Directory. This isn’t an Active Directory environment because the directory isn’t hosted on Windows domain controllers. Simple AD is a Samba service that emulates Active Directory and is compatible with it. Another option is to create an AD Connector. This option is suitable if you already have an Active Directory environment on-premises that you wish to use for authentication into WorkDocs. You’ll need to choose which option is best for you. The remaining steps will vary depending on the choice. For the purposes this article, I will choose the Create Simple AD option. You will be prompted to create simple AD by clicking the Create Simple AD button.