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Egnyte brings file collaboration to public clouds

Sonia Lelii

Egnyte Inc. is expanding its online file-sharing software to support third-party cloud storage providers. The company, which has three of its own data centers, today said its EgnytePlus

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enterprise platform is integrated with Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure and NetApp StorageGRID.

EgnytePlus is an enterprise-level file collaboration tool that can be deployed solely through an Egnyte cloud file server or in combination with on-premises networked storage. The new cloud provider integration allows Egnyte to work with data that already resides in a public cloud. Egnyte users can access that data without replicating or reconfiguring permissions.

The hybrid cloud approach allows customers to keep a local copy of data on-premises while syncing a copy to the cloud. With online file sharing, users can collaborate in real time across multiple teams and offices, while files can be backed up to the cloud with remote replication.

Customers must pay for at least 500 seats to take advantage of third-party storage.

Egnyte CEO Vineet Jain said the compute and file collaboration application still runs in the company's data centers, but the storage can reside with third-party cloud providers.

"We're just giving the flexibility of choosing the storage provider," he said.

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Terri McClure, a senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, said the integration with third-party clouds lets customers take advantage of pricing changes to switch providers.

"Customers are always concerned about vendor lock-in; this provides a choice of cloud providers and eliminates that fear," she said. "Plus, in a race to the bottom as far as capacity pricing goes, organizations that choose a low-cost capacity provider can now bundle in the Egnyte service rather than subscribe to multiple clouds.

"Think about the NetApp StorageGRID angle," McClure added. "Now with StorageGRID plus Egnyte, health care organizations can keep capacity in house and help alleviate security concerns, but still support sharing files and images across multiple devices."

McClure said Egnyte could save money down the road by partnering with third-party cloud providers instead of maintaining its own cloud. Ben Huang, Gartner's principal research analyst for applications architecture, development, integration and Web technologies, agreed that Egnyte could benefit from partnering with large cloud providers, although it would give up the control that comes with building its own.

"As they expand, it may be more efficient for them to partner with someone established [as] the likes of Amazon or Rackspace," he said. "However, the drawback is that they're not running the data center operations and performance/SLA/security is dependent on the provider's performance. In the long run, it does make sense to partner with a larger established cloud provider as they can better leverage the economy of scale."


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