Cloud Storage: Comparing Box and Egnytes
Cloud storage is a model of networked storage utilizing the wide reach of the internet to bring storage services to virtually anyone who has an internet connection. This type of online storage stores data in virtualized pools usually hosted by third party providers. Storage hosting companies operate large and distributed data centers and they sell or lease certain amounts of storage capacity to clients. The provider virtualizes the storage resources and provides them according to the needs of customers who store data objects or files on them. Even though the customer might be renting 100 GB of storage space, this is all virtual and the physical equivalent of that capacity may span across multiple servers in different geographical locations.
Box and Egnyte are two of the biggest players in the cloud storage arena, both are fighting for top position and the money of customers, and both are not giving up without a fight. Box was established in 2005 revolutionizing cloud storage worldwide. Internet users were quick to jump on the wagon and snap up their own slice of the cloud storage space. It quickly became the top cloud storage provider in a market that was almost barren of competition. Then in 2007, Egnyte appeared in the scene and ever since, they have been in each other’s throats. Off the bat, Egnyte offered more business-centric functions and targeted Box’s bigger customers with promise of better data management and cloud security.
Box was designed to be a pure cloud based file sharing solution and not really as a file server. It did not provide an offline local synchronization like Dropbox and Egnyte’s Personal Cloud service, until recently anyway. Box is more consumer-centric and catered to the individual user, even giving a free 5 GB storage for anyone who signs up. Egnyte was built to be a cloud-based alternative for the local file server and targeting the SME customer group, not the consumer. They simply replace the physical file server with their cloud services. Egnyte does not use the “freemium” model but has a 15-day free trial. Box uses mostly browser access to provide a user-friendly environment for users to use the service while Egnyte provided access to the cloud storage through a mapped drive that will show up in the “My Computer” directory as a real drive partition.
Another feature that Egnyte touts to be better than Box’s is its Permissions Architecture which allows the administrator to set individual subfolder permissions to control who can access them. For example, any user of Box who has access to a parent folder has access to all subfolders, but Egnyte has special permissions that will restrict specific users from accessing some folders under a parent folder which they have access to.
In terms file size limits, Box offers a maximum of 2 GB as the ceiling for allowable files but Egnyte has no restrictions as to the file size. In overall usability, Box offers a more user friendly environment which is easier to navigate and master which wins the consumer market. Both offer support for mobile devices. Egnyte is not as user friendly because of the added complexity of its enterprise features, so it is more suited to those customers who need a tighter grip on their data and needs more enterprise solutions.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).