How to Index Cloud-Hosted Content

Indexing content into AVAIL Channels from locations such as OneDrive, SharePoint, Panzura, BIM 360, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.

AVAIL is designed to be location agnostic; by this, we mean that whether files live on-premises or in the cloud, it's possible to index them into AVAIL. This approach makes all of your content available in a single interface.

This article will explain the process for indexing content from third-party cloud services. If you are interested in using AVAIL's Host in Cloud feature, visit our AVAIL Host in Cloud page.

The process for indexing cloud-hosted content will vary slightly between the different cloud services, but overall we have found the processes to be very similar.

1. Upload content to the cloud service

This probably goes without saying, and you've likely already done so, but it is a necessary step! In addition, be sure to share access to this content with your users. 

2. Configure your cloud service to sync to a location that is identical across all users

We are just on step two, but this is a crucial step in making content accessible in AVAIL.

Why is this step so important?

The location of content (the file path) is how AVAIL links to your content and is determined when indexing. 

If the path to the content differs for users, then the content will not be accessible.

For example, if a Publisher indexes content from E:\Photos, then the consumers will also need to have access to E:\Photos in order to access the content.

Adjusting the Sync Location

The key for indexing content from cloud storage platforms into AVAIL is that the path needs to resolve to the same location for all users that need access to the content.

For example, if OneDrive currently syncs to C:\Users\Todd\OneDrive\... then for another user it may be C:\Users\Shelly\OneDrive\..., since the paths don't match, the content won't be accessible by all in AVAIL. This is what most services do by default.

AVAIL indexes content based on its location; therefore, the path to the content needs to match for every user.

If you adjust OneDrive (or whichever service you are using) to resolve to the same path, content can then be shared.

  • Good location example (universal path across all users): C:\BIM360\xyz
  • Bad location example (path is different for every user): C:\Users\Stevens\BIM360\xyz

Using a Symbolic Link

Some cloud services, such as BIM 360, require the sync location be in an individual user location.

There is a workaround for differing file paths - using symbolic links. Symbolic links enable you to reference links to a different location. For example, if BIM 360 resolves to C:\Users\Will\BIM360, you could use a symbolic link to reference that path to C:\BIM360 instead.

You can create symbolic links using the Windows mklink command in a Command Prompt window as Administrator.

The example mentioned above would be created as follows:

mklink /d "C:\BIM360\" "C:\Users\Will\BIM360\"

3. Sync files from the cloud service to your computer

Now that the sync location is configured, you are ready to sync files to your computer.

Every cloud service we have come across has an option to sync files from the cloud to your computer.

The files will appear in your Window File Folder just like content that is on-premise or on a shared network. You are now ready to...

4. Index content into AVAIL!

Because the files have synced locally, you can now drag and drop to index the desired content from your File Explorer directly into your AVAIL Channel.

Voila! Your cloud-hosted content is now accessible through AVAIL. Content can be tagged, searched, and utilized just like any other content in AVAIL, and users only need to use a single interface to find what they need!

Having issues viewing thumbnails for cloud-hosted content? The cloud service may have disabled the thumbnails. Here is a link to a segment of a recent webinar on how AVAIL's thumbnail virtualization feature can help when OneDrive (or other services) disables thumbnails. Video on Virtualizing Thumbnails.

At this time, Google’s proprietary file types (.gdoc, .gsheet, .gslides) are not able to be indexed into AVAIL.

If the content is available only as a web URL, it cannot be indexed at this time.