The Evolution of Cloud File Sharing Services

It seems that every week we hear about another company offering a cloud-based file sync and share product for businesses, SMBs, consumers, pro-sumers, anyone – and everyone. Even a battery company recently announced it was getting into this business. One company that actually helped to create this market is Egnyte, which recently announced some expansion plans and an interesting partnership with a major Telco. Since releasing their first product over five years ago, the company has been leading this industry with innovations that address the maturing needs of this growing market.

Egnyte is fundamentally a software solution that creates a cloud platform using on-premise storage and either Egnyte’s cloud or a public cloud to store shared files. It’s comprised of three components that provide three different file sharing capabilities to address the different needs of the wide range of users in this market.

Cloud File Server

Cloud File Server is like a ‘typical’ cloud-only file sharing service. Users’ data is sent to the Egnyte cloud or a public cloud where it can be accessed via the internet by users with computers or mobile devices. This is the ‘enterprise sync and share’ service that most cloud providers offer.

Storage Sync

For users that need remote access, but want data stored on-site in order to get better performance, a hybrid cloud solution offers the proverbial ‘best of both worlds’. This can be important for companies that deal with large data sets, like rich media content, CAD/CAM, etc. Egnyte has partnered with Netgear to provide these onsite storage appliances, with the Egnyte software running in Netgear’s ReadyNAS product. They’ve also recently announced a similar partnership with Synology. These hybrid cloud appliances can also be inter-connected, allowing multiple remote sites to share each others’ local data.

Storage Connect

This third leg of the Egnyte product stool provides an access layer that’s in the cloud with the data maintained on premises. Storage Connect is a thin virtual appliance that’s installed behind the corporate firewall and connects to data on local storage devices and communicates with the Egnyte cloud. It manages access to that local data without actually sending any data or metadata to the cloud; providing secure file sharing for data that is too sensitive to be stored outside the data center. The combination of these three layers of shared storage gives companies a comprehensive file sharing infrastructure that provides the access that users want and the security that IT needs.

Storage Swiss Take

The cloud file sharing has always made sense to users, but in practice the concept has some shortcomings. Egnyte has been evolving the standard cloud-based file sync and share model to address those shortcomings. Initially they partnered with SMB and consumer products vendors to deliver a hybrid cloud storage appliance in response to the performance problem users had with early cloud-only solutions. Now they’ve introduced another ‘hybrid’ of sorts, Storage Connect, which enables companies to securely share file access through the cloud, while keeping those files on site.

As the market continues to evolve Egnyte is moving to a software focus and identifying different platforms from which to deliver their file sharing services. While still currently offering a cloud service of their own, Egnyte sees a future where their customers rely completely on public cloud providers.

Egnyte is not a client of Storage Switzerland

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Eric is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and has over 25 years experience in high-technology industries. He’s held technical, management and marketing positions in the computer storage, instrumentation, digital imaging and test equipment fields. He has spent the past 15 years in the data storage field, with storage hardware manufacturers and as a national storage integrator, designing and implementing open systems storage solutions for companies in the Western United States.  Eric earned degrees in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Colorado and marketing from California State University, Humboldt.  He and his wife live in Colorado and have twins in college.

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2 comments on “The Evolution of Cloud File Sharing Services
  1. Marco says:

    With a title like “The Evolution of Cloud File Sharing Services”, I would have expected to read about many more providers than just Egnyte. In fact, when compared with its consumer and enterprise cloud service competitors, Egnyte has truly barely scratched the surface.
    Indeed the company has been working restlessly to sign partnerships and expand wherever possible in hopes of keeping up with the more progressive Box, DriveHQ, and Dropbox. Though a company cannot expect to succeed in the enterprise world when they are constantly hiking the prices of their business users.

  2. Adzuno says:

    File cloud storage is the best way to store our resources in cloud.

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