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Acronis Announces Access Connect, An Updated, Rebranded ExtremeZ-IP

By - Source: Acronis

Acronis announced Access Connect, a rebranded version of ExtremeZ-IP. Access Connect runs as a service on a Windows Server to turn a Windows Server Messaging Block (SMB) share into a share that's accessible via the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP).

Instead of completely replacing the SMB share, Acronis Access Connect provides an additional way of connecting to the share through AFP. Discoverability is provided through Acronis Access Connect, which is picked up by the Apple Bonjour service. Because the shares are discovered and accessed in a format native to Apple devices, there is no software required for Macintosh computers.

Once connected to the AFP share, it functions on the Mac just like any other Apple network share, including full text and Spotlight searching.

Mobility enhancements are one of the key features in this release. Using the Acronis Access Connect apps for iOS devices, the file shares are remotely accessible from anywhere you have network access. Authentication is done through Active Directory integration, and credentials are stored in the application on the device, not in the cloud on a third party server.

Files can be accessed remotely through the in-app file browser and can be edited through an in-app office document editing software. Note that this does not use Microsoft Office apps for editing the documents; instead, it uses editing software inside the Access Connect app.

Tom's IT Pro discussed this newest product with Marcelo Andrieu, product management director at Acronis; we asked about not using the Microsoft Office apps for editing. First, Andrieu said that Acronis wants Access Connect to be fully functional without requiring additional third party apps. Also, by having the editing software running inside Acronis Access Connect, the documents never leave the encrypted application space that it's running in.

A product demo showed the applications to be functional, but not as polished as editing the documents with the full fidelity of Office apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. During the demonstration we saw the files being created, edited and shared on the AFP share by the iOS device, and we watched as the changes were reflected on the Mac computers.

Though AFP is an Apple protocol, the mobile features of Acronis Access Connect work on both iOS and Android devices. Andrieu also discussed the possibility of working with other mobile platforms.

"BlackBerry still can be managed by BlackBerry Enterprise Service, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of demand for that. As for Windows Phone, there is a lot of push from Microsoft into the market with Windows 10, and that's a good thing. We'll just have to see if it turns into a demand," said Andrieu.

The connectivity for remote devices is provided by Acronis Access Connect, so you do not need to have IIS already running on the file server. A built-in Tomcat web server provides the web service and a self-signed certificate enables SSL encryption.

Acronis Access Connect supports iOS 7 and later running on iPhone 4S and later, iPad 2 and later, all iPad Mini and iPad Air versions, and iPod touch generation 5 devices. Android tablets and smartphones running version 2.2 and later are supported, but not Android devices using an x86 processor architecture.

Acronis Access Connect is available now; for more information, visit

Update, 5/26/2015 10:25 PM - Added images