Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Jim Kaskade, Scott Bampton, Aater Suleman, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Virtualization, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal

Virtualization: Article

The Hyper-Crowded Enterprise File Share and Sync Market Is White Hot

Companies that were selling storage are revamping business models to move to 'solution heaven'

Followers of the Enterprise File Share and Sync Market (EFSS) will have noticed a flurry of announcements in the last few weeks. In particular:

SAP and OpenText collaborated with Tempo Box; Egnyte outlined it would leverage Google's Storage; Box purchased Stream as well as announcing Box Notes (something SME has had for ages) and unlimited storage for business plan customers as well as being able to save files to Box directly from Microsoft Office (again something SME has had for a long time); SalesForce and Microsoft announced interoperability with Office365; Microsoft also announced that certain Office365 subscribers would receive 1TB free of charge; Cloudian announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services; Amazon announced Zocalo their EFSS solution; Zimbra purchased Mezeo.

So why is this flurry activity happening? There are a few reasons. The first is that the market is on a race to zero from a storage viewpoint. Getting more storage is becoming cheaper and cheaper. OneDrive, Google and now Box, have pushed hard on what the price is for unlimited or pseudo unlimited storage. To quote Aaron Levie from Box, the costs of storing a gigabyte of data has reduced by a factor of 22000 over the past two decades to the point where the cost is now more or less negligible (but not for the companies who have to provide it....).

A current snapshot mix of consumer and business public cloud storage pricing is:

  • Box starts at $5 per user unlimited storage for business and enterprise users
  • DropBox Pro starts at $9.99 per user per month for 100GB
  • Huddle starts at $20 / £15 per user per month for 100GB Storage
  • Amazon Zocalo - $5 per user per month for 200GB or $2 per user per month if using workspaces
  • Google Apps for business $5 per user per month for 1 TB or $10 per user per month for unlimited storage
  • OneDrive $6.99 per month 1 TB unlimited storage or $9.99 per month for a 5 person family plan

Companies who were selling storage now find themselves in "storage hell" and are revamping business models to move to "solution heaven".

The second point is that the overall storage and file share and sync space is crowded and many companies in this space are venture backed. The race to zero hurts all the vendors who's primary business model was founded on selling storage. Vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google can easily accommodate the race to zero as they can make margin on other services. The vendors who had only storage sales as their primary business model cannot.

So what to expect ? I expect to see more "culling" of companies over the next 12 months and more aggregation. The venture backed companies have to show a good ROI path to get future rounds and some of these will fall by the wayside either in acquisition or worse as the space gets even more competitive.

Vendors will also all have to concentrate on the selling of storage as their main business model to the selling of a solution ie. concentrate on their many USP's and value added features.

Also, expect to see vendors look to devolve their storage back ends and offer hybrid storage or  storage on something else other than their platform. This increases their margin and cuts down on costs.

The other thing that has hurt the majority of vendors on that list is the recent Snowdon / PRISM debacle coupled with the US Supreme Court adjudication. It has led to the majority of companies outside of the US unwilling to place their data in US Cloud companies. Locality of data centre does not matter when data seizure is potentially up for grabs if the company is a US Inc. This has certainly hurt the bottom line and potential revenue streams of vendors such as Egnyte and Box who recently expanded into the UK market.

The Gartner magic quadrant for EFSS was recently released and you will see a lot of the vendors discussed above on that list. We are not, even though we regularly get selected in head to head selection choices with these vendors.  I'd like to dig into this a little as I think it is worthy of some comment.

A lot of the vendors on that list are very heavily VC backed and have huge marketing budgets to throw at analysts and getting media airtime in general. It gets them known and gets analyst airtime. Great if you have the money, bad if you haven't.

The interesting thing for me is that these companies who have heavy VC investment are not necessarily going to be around in their current incarnation in a brutal market. something that surely is worth of debate and highlighting. Instead you have to look elsewhere for such debate. I would recommend reading this from the Motley Fool and this from Josh Hannah for such a debate on Box for example.

Also the governance and audit aspect of what is required by an EFSS player is largely missing and we would say this is the most important part in a corporate world that is having stricter data controls placed on them each week and that is also obsesses with data snooping. The research analyst Osteman produced a good independent white paper analyst report on this if you are interested.

So let me recap on the Storage Made Easy Private EFSS solution with regards to the Gartner Quadrant (given we were not on it !). We offer private on-premise behind the firewall, or on IaaS, EFSS. We cover every desktop Operating System, Mac Windows and Linux, and are one of the only vendors to have a Linux solution. Specifically SME has plug-in's for Open Office and Microsoft Office as well as for Microsoft Outlook and for Mac Mail and Mac Outlook (one of the few to do this). More importantly we are the only vendor on that list to have Cloud Drive's for each platform as the "view" of large amounts of corporate data is just as important as the ability to sync (In fact you can currently obtain a version of the SME Mac drive specifically from Huddle one of the EFSS vendors mentioned in the Quadrant).

SME covers every mobile Operating System, iOS, Android Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, BlackBerry (both OS versions). We also offer versions of the mobile App for Oracle Mobile Security Suite and also Sector.

SME uniquely offers App "packagers" for web,desktop, and mobile to allow Enterprise customers to self brand and create a strong brand identity.

SME also provides extra strong governance controls with Audit logs that can be exposed at a business level for download or archive (Excel), or can be used at a tech level (SysLog). It has already been used and deployed as part of HIPPA AND FISMA solutions. It also integrates with Active Directory and LDAP from an Identity Management perspective. The SME solution is also offered on the UK G-Cloud, an IL3 level service as well as with Amazon GovCloud in the US.

The SME solution  provides a unique protocol layer that support WebDav, FTP, SFTP above any data store for integration with common Apps or hardware. This is unique amongst all vendors to us.

It can also be deployed with a a specific integration with Apache Lucene for deep content search of data stored in distributed clouds. Veritext did just such a deployment with us for their Veritext Vault service.

On the business side SME has over 250,000 personal customers (SaaS service) and over 5000 business customers with over 50 of these customer deployed on premise or IaaS using their own private EFSS service. The largest deployment is for 250,000 users, geo load balanced between east and west coast US and UK and Amsterdam. The Storage Made Easy solution is also OEM'd or white labelled by over 20 service providers globally. At an enterprise level we also recently closed our first 8 figure annual recurring revenue deal.

All worthy of note on an "independent" analyst briefing document I would have thought......

So lets get back to the market. The nature of where EFSS and Cloud Storage is at begs the question, "what about Storage Made Easy ?", where does that leave us in the EFSS space?

Well the first thing to note is that Storage Made Easy concentrates on private enterprise file share and sync for "all" corporate data. It's always been about a solution sale and our focus is firmly on being an EFSS control appliance for all private and cloud corporate data. We are a facilitator in that sense but can also be used as an EFSS solution with any private (or public Data store), for example OpenStack Swift. This means we already partner with a lot of vendors who already provide EFSS services.

The second thing to note is that by and large Enterprise File Share and Sync vendors are not in the storage market. For example the Storage Made Easy EFSS Appliance does not come with any storage. The focus is supporting multiple back end private data clouds, combined with any public data clouds used, in a secure, governed way, storing only the metadata to be used in value added ways, such as the deep search , or for search classification across corporate data silos for example.

The third point of note is that Storage Made Easy and private and not VC backed. The original founders still own more than 50% of the company. Raising money has occurred through private equity rather than via an Angel or VC model.  This gives it access to funds when needed but direct control over its future and a model of growth by revenue rather than  purely by VC funding. This has plus points and drawbacks but one of the plus points is not needing to desperately hit VC baked proof points to hit another round (or IPO) when burning cash ie. unlike Box we are not spending 137% of our revenue on Sales and Marketing to achieve these. Growth instead is steady and organic at over 30% per quarter and cash brought into the business is invested back into the business.

Also we are taking a different tack in this market. The sales expertise inside of the company is, in the majority, enterprise based. We are using this experience coupled with the product to engage with companies to solve enterprise type problems that can have a much a larger price point than simply shifting user licenses.

Okay a quick summary, the market is hot, white hot. It's crowded. There will be more aggregation and more price and feature wars. Vendors are being forced to move from selling storage to selling solutions and will as a consequence of this look to devolve offering storage as part of a solutionized offering.

More Stories By Jim Liddle

Jim is CEO of Storage Made Easy. Jim is a regular blogger at SYS-CON.com, covering mobile, Grid, and Cloud Computing Topics.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US and large in-house IT organizations.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
As a disruptive technology, Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), which is an emerging standard of web communications, is redefining how brands and consumers communicate in real time. The on-going narrative around WebRTC has largely been around incorporating video, audio and chat functions to apps. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Alex Gouaillard, Founder and CTO of Temasys Communications, will look at a fourth element – data channels – and talk about its potential to move WebRTC beyond browsers and into the Internet of Things.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research's network of 200+ independent analysts provides new content daily that bridges the gap between break...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.