Quick & Secure Network Filesystem Access With ExpanDrive

Magnetk ExpanDrive Logo

Magnetk – makers of SftpDrive for Windows – have brought their secure, remote filesystem magic to OS X with version 1.0 of ExpanDrive.

If you have a blog/site hosted on any flavor of Linux or BSD (including OS X) or do any amount of cross-platform management or development then you know how useful ssh is for speedy & secure command-line access from the Terminal. The advent of MacFUSE on OS X brought sshfs to the Mac application landscape, though it can be slow and cryptic to setup for the average user.

ExpanDrive simplifies access to these remote filesystems via an unobtrusive menubar icon and straightforward user interface. Simply open up the ExpanDrive Manager:

ExpanDrive Manager

and enter in your connection info. You can leave the password field blank if you already have ssh public/private keys defined and configured your servers appropriately. A simple double-click of the drive in the list view mounts the filesystem and it behaves just like any AFP, SMB or attached disk.

I’m fairly mobile, moving from AT&T 3G to Wi-Fi to Ethernet throughout the day and I’ve been able to keep ExpanDrive filesystems mounted across all these transitions without the dreaded “spinning death ball” that is usually associated with the Finder and network mounts. While some Mac apps – TextWrangler and ImageWell being two that I use – have native support for SFTP, ExpanDrive provides for universal access across all applications and makes it simple to reliably integrate remote storage operations into your workflow.

If you poke around the application bundle (you do poke around application bundles, right?), you’ll find that ExpanDrive was developed with Python as a foundation, fully demonstrating that you do not need to be an Objective-C maven to create great Mac software.

ExpanDrive has an introductory price of $29.00USD, is a Universal application and runs on OS X 10.4.1 (Tiger) or higher.

If you give it a try, drop a note in the forum or comments, especially if you are using it with any type of high-speed NAS configuration.

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