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Maginatics enters cloud file sharing market

Sonia Lelii

Maginatics Inc. came out of stealth today with its MagFS online file sharing platform that uses a distributed file system and cloud storage so end users with multiple end-point

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devices can access data from a shared namespace.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Maginatics joins a crowded cloud file sharing market that includes Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox, Egnyte, EMC/Syncplicity, Nomadix, SugarSync and YouSendIt. Maginatics claims its cloud file sharing software can scale higher than competitors -- up to millions of users -- and is better suited for the enterprise.

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“The Maginatics solution is much like deploying an on-premises NAS solution in look, feel and administration, but with cloud connectivity, mobile support and efficient access to data whether it's stored in the cloud or on-premises,” according to a report written by Terri McClure, a senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group.

Maginatics MagFS software consists of the MagFS Server and MagFS Client. The MagFS Server software only holds the metadata, resides in the data center and is integrated with Microsoft Windows Server Active Directory. The MagFS Client runs on client devices, appears as a standard network share to users and performs inline global deduplication.

MagFS works with public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud models. The software includes a cloud gateway that's distributed to every device as a native lightweight client. The gateway does a handshake between the client and the server to access data from the cloud. MagFS supports Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3); future releases plan to support EMC Atmos and OpenStack Swift for on-premises clouds, and AT&T Synaptic, Hewlett-Packard (HP) Cloud and Microsoft Azure for public cloud storage.

The MagFS Server encrypts data in transit and at rest, and the encryption keys are stored inside the data center. McClure said most online file sharing services hold the encryption key to allow sharing between users between domains. That means the keys are stored outside of IT’s security policies and practices. MagFS lets customers keep the keys inside their firewalls.

“Anytime you work with enterprise customers who use cloud storage, they're concerned with security,” said Bruno Raimondo, Maginatics’ senior director of product management. “We provide an enterprise security model where the encryption key is in the data center. This is one of the biggest barriers to adopting cloud storage -- matching the security in the data center and the cloud.”

Jay Kistler, Maginatics chief technology officer, said MagFS isn't a sync-based technology that pushes every change in the namespace to the end-point device in a serialized manner. Instead, MagFS pulls changes when a device requests the data.

“It’s a push versus pull model,” Kistler said. “A push model is good for a small number of users. With us, not every change is pushed to every device until one of the devices makes a request. Then the data is pulled. A push model doesn't scale past a small number of users; it becomes network heavy and inefficient.”

Maginatics MagFS is scheduled for availability in September. Maginatics, which has secured $10 million in Series A funding, has 25 employees. EMC Venture Group and VMware are strategic investors.


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