Storage. Love it or hate it, you can’t do without it. But when I say storage, there are two perspectives around it. The first comes from the basement data center, where storage is about feeds, speeds and disk space. While the modern perspective has moved on from storage being about hundreds of spinning rust plates, the IT view of storage is still pretty infrastructure-heavy.

The other aspect on storage comes from higher up in the building, the offices of business users who think about storage as being a place to put their important files, and a platform to allow themselves to share those files and collaborate on them with their peers.

These two worlds have traditionally been pretty separate – Dropbox, Box and Egnyte, three of the better-known file sharing and synchronization vendors don’t have much mindshare down in the basement while NetApp, Rubrik, and Druva, three companies who take up lots of column inches about the mind-numbingly boring incredibly exciting world of storage infrastructure, don’t have much of a place in eh hearts and minds of business people.

So what would happen if you put both parts of the puzzle together in a combined offering? This is what we’re getting from Cloudian and Storage Made Easy with the announcement of a GDPR-ready file sync-and-share offering. But first some context.

Who?

Cloudian is a data management solution provider. What that means in plain English is that they offer a storage platform for enterprise data – in the case of Cloudian, it’s a storage platform that is built upon, and hence interoperable with, the Amazon S3 API. Cloudian is in the business of “cloudifying” traditional storage infrastructure. For its part, Storage Made Easy is a file sharing and synchronization vendor. It’s product, Enterprise File Fabric, offers a file sharing platform that can sit on top of either on-premises or cloud storage assets and operated both as a cloud-native product or integrated into an individual operating system.

1+1= something more

Put the two together and you have an offering that covers the gamut of storage infrastructure and allows said IT managers to control the physical location of data and manage access permissions via their existing company authentication frameworks (think Active Directory and LDAP). On top of that sits the file sharing bit that offers compatibility with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android platforms, and includes configurable synchronization options that let users control where data is replicated. On top of that, for those who enjoy the benefits that a deeply integrated offering from an office productivity vendor like Google and Microsoft deliver, this offering is integrated with Microsoft Office and email applications allowing file sharing from within those applications.

The obligatory GDPR mention

Storage Made Easy is a European vendor and, for anyone who has been living under a rock for the last few months, that means security and privacy, specifically compliance with Europe’s new GDPR regulations, is critical. It will make European customers happy to know that the combined solution offers GDPR-ready collaboration software with access controls and content indexing to continuously monitor for the use of regulated personal data, recognizing more than 60 data types including credit card, passport, and social security numbers.

The solution also provides secure file sharing controls such as password-protected links, configurable download limits, and expiration dates after which links will be disabled automatically. All data accesses are logged, maintaining an audit trail for compliance.

The two protagonists in this deal are naturally bullish about the offering. Michael Tso, CEO of CLoudian, had this to say:

With GDPR now in effect, organizations must implement tight controls over data location and usage — particularly when personal data is at stake — requirements that most cloud-based services do not meet. The Cloudian/SME solution gives IT managers peace-of-mind, with end-to-end control of data location and access, and a continuous view of where files are stored, how they are shared, and where personal data is employed.

While his counterpart, Jim Liddle from Storage Made Easy was also ebullient:

Users are going to share information, but that does not mean that IT managers need to lose control. The challenge is to provide easy-to-use file sharing that boosts productivity while ensuring that sensitive information remains secure. Cloudian and SME together provide the best of both worlds, combining the simplicity of a cloud-like solution, the security of on-premises storage, and the comprehensive compliance enforcement afforded by our GDPR-ready feature set.

MyPOV

The ability to wrap a data management platform around some legacy (or not so legacy) storage assets and put a cutting edge file synch-and-share offering on top of that makes total sense and covers off two sides of the same storage coin. While some other storage vendors have dabbled with delivering both sides of this proposition (remember EMC’s ill-fated acquisition of Syncplicity) this feels like a partnership that has more substance to it.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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