The Cloud (Storage) Wars

A Storm Brewing…The Cloud (Storage) Wars

By now you’ve probably heard the term, “Cloud Wars”, though with so many fronts sometimes it’s difficult to ascertain which Cloud battles are being referenced. In The Battle for the Enterprise the reference is to cloud computing leaders making their way into the enterprise segment taking market share from the legacy IT providers. Others may be referring to the Oracle and SAP acquisition shootout or the CRM Cloud Wars.

For our purposes, the “Cloud War” discussion will revolve around storage. There has been a lot of news coverage around the battle being played out between Microsoft SkyDrive and iCloud, and news of Google entering the fray with it’s Google Drive (aka G-Drive) competing with a Dropbox like file service. Other players include Box.net, Sugar Sync, Syncplicity, and iFolder to name but a few.

This battlefield is rich and complex, so last week, I called upon someone that’s in the trenches to get a different perspective on what’s happening in the segment. That perspective on Google Drive and the coming “Cloud Wars” came from Vineet Jain, CEO and Co-founder of Egnyte, the hybrid cloud file server solutions provider, and Marco Sanchez, Director of Product Marketing. Vineet and Marco have a good viewpoint as they live in the crowded market for file storage, facing competitors like Box.net, DropBox, Sugar Sync, and others on a daily basis. Here was Vineet’s opinion on the matter.

There’s a storm brewing in the cloud wars and we can see it with the most recent announcement of Google Drive cloud storage, in addition to iCloud from Apple and SkyDrive from Microsoft.

All of these offerings have one thing in common, they’ve focused on the consumer and left the enterprise behind. One such example is that services like these create bread crumb trails of sensitive corporate files littered across the Internet, which are often impossible to retrieve, especially after someone leaves a company.  That’s just one huge loophole in data security created by bringing consumer products into the enterprise. At the end of the day, it’s critical to allow IT to facilitate the flow of information in a controlled way across all users. If you have a solid understanding of who can access what and how, then you can create an environment that is conducive to collaboration while simultaneously ensuring the integrity and ownership of those very files which are the lifeblood of an organization. Employees and consultants may come and go, but data lives forever.

– Vineet Jain, CEO and Co-founder, Egnyte

In many respects I tend to agree with Vineet’s perspective, though I think these offerings from Apple, Google and Microsoft will eventually migrate into enterprise offerings.

That being said, I have long been an advocate of hybrid clouds and see the value of Egnyte’s centrally managed, hybrid storage model solution for SMB and enterprise. Challenges with large data files, latency problems, loss of control, and security which are probably not much of a consumer issue, loom large in business settings. IT management in data sensitive industries that are considering replacing their traditional file server may be comforted knowing that they have an on premise copy of the data, can mitigate large data file latency issues, and have secure access via 256-bit AES encryption over SSL, as well as, SAS 70 Type II compliance.

For the time being, I’ll buy Vineet’s perspective that this “Cloud War” focus is more pronounced on the consumer side given the players’ consumer orientation, but I don’t expect it to stay that way for long.

What’s your perspective on this “Cloud War” and the cloud file storage segment?

By Ray Depena

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