Let’s face it, traditional enterprise data storage solutions tend to be big, inflexible and difficult to use. There’s a reason that Dropbox, Box and all the other “modern” collaboration solutions have had such strong growth – they may lack some of the bells and whistles of the traditional solutions but they’re easy to use.
What many vendors are thinking about now is bringing flexible access end points, to these existing data store systems – in doing so they’re attempting to deliver the best of both worlds to customers. Case in point is ShareFile (now owned by Citrix) which is today announcing that it now supports SharePoint and Azure. In doing so they tie together the data within these discrete systems, along with data within ShareFile itself – but still deliver the IT control that it demands. Specific announcements today include:
- New StorageZones on Microsoft Windows Azure allows customers to store data in Microsoft hosted datacenters
- Integration between ShareFile and XenMobile, IT can secure and control enterprise data on mobile devices by choosing ShareFile as the common data platform across Worx-enabled mobile apps
- ShareFile includes a built-in mobile content editor, which supports standard SharePoint functions like check-out, edit and check-in from mobile devices
MyPOV – What Does it Mean?
It would be easy to say that ShareFile rolling out this functionality is an admission that they’re not really penetrating their market as they like to – after all if your solution is being successful in replacing legacy systems, why integrate with those systems? The reality is more nuanced than that however and ShareFile is offering customers a progression from the old world to the new. Customers who have huge amounts of data in legacy storage have a pressing concern, and it’s not moving off that storage. rather they’re looking to mobile-enable their workforce, a workforce which in many cases is already rushing headfirst into the BYOD world. This product offering does that – it’s not hugely elegant, but it works.
I’ve used ShareFile a bit and I have to say, having come from using more bottom up tools like Box, Google drive, Dropbox and others, it’s user experience leaves a little to be desired. But seen in the context of enterprise reality – it’s about incremental steps. And tying enterprise storage in with an access and editing front end, even if that front end isn’t as pretty as other solutions, is a compelling proposition.