There are two main types of cloud synchronization services available today, according to Terri McClure, a market analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group: consumer-focused ones, such as DropBox, and enterprise-focused ones such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. Egnyte, a hybrid cloud provider, is looking to bridge the advantages of each with a new offering it released today.
Consumer offerings, like those from DropBox and SugarSynch, McClure says, thrive for their ease of use, user interface functions and price. But, they're not optimized for use by an enterprise IT executive, who has concerns around management of the application, security and capacity issues.
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AWS and Rackspace, on the other hand, can require upfront investments to synchronize an existing IT environment with those from the provider, which is traditionally done through application program interfaces, or APIs.
Egnyte is attempting to have the best of both worlds: an easy-to-use interface that supports file synchronization across a range of devices, as well as security controls and capacity allowances to satisfy enterprise IT, says McClure.
Today's announced offering from Egnyte of a hybrid cloud offering aimed at enterprise customers is just the latest in a flurry of activity in the file sharing and collaboration market in the past few months, McClure says.
Egnyte has been a player in hybrid cloud offerings for the past few years, but has mainly focused its efforts on small and midsize businesses. With today's announcement, the company has increased its storage capacity and introduced new security controls to take aim at the much larger and more lucrative enterprise class market.
"Businesses are ready for the cloud, but the public cloud is not truly prepared for business," says Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte.
Egnyte's strategy is centered around the idea of using a hybrid cloud offering, meaning that customers' data remains on site in their own data center, but is replicated in the Egnyte cloud, which the company supports across three data centers. Data is constantly synchronized between the on-site and cloud environment, allowing end users to access the data from anywhere on any device through an Internet connection. It's important for some businesses to keep data on site though, specifically for certain applications that need a low-latency connection to the data, or for others, such as those in the financial industry, that need data on site for compliance purposes.
Egnyte has made some specific changes to support the enterprise customer. Most notably, the company now supports the storage of up to 10 million files from 10,000 concurrent users per customer, and the company's file transfer protocol can support uploads of up to 1TB in size. Egnyte's offering does not require legacy systems to be replaced, although the company uses an on-site appliance, from NetGear or NetApp, to support the hybrid cloud model. Egnyte also announced that the data is secured using a newly announced partnership with Sophos SafeGuard.
McClure, the Enterprise Strategy Group analyst, says Egnyte's offerings add to the increasingly crowded online file sharing and collaborations market consumers and businesses can choose from. Other companies that have made recent new offerings include Huddle, Team Drive and File Track, McClure says.
"I'm really bullish on this entire market," McClure says. "Consumerization is a real driving force behind it. Workers want to be able to access information across multiple devices and have those files all synchronized. The winners will be providers that can marry the ease of control that consumer offerings have shown with the managed security controls and capacities that enterprises demand."
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.