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Connected Data Transporter moves file sharing to private cloud

Connected Data's Transporter evolves from a SOHO device to an appliance that provides IT with a private cloud for file sync-and-share.

Connected Data is betting on a backlash against Dropbox and public cloud file sharing. The company today announced its Transporter Genesis appliance for businesses that provides on-premises file sync-and-share capabilities that can scale in a private cloud model. 

The 2U appliance holds two solid-state drives for metadata and acceleration, and six hard disk drives for storage. The Connected Data Transporter Genesis 75 system scales up to 12 TB and handles approximately 75 users, while the Transporter Genesis 150 scales up to 24 TB and supports 150 users.

Along with sharing files, the devices can be used for collaboration and off-site backup. The software includes versioning and an undelete capability. A read-only feature at the folder and user level will be included when the product ships next month. 

Originally, the Connected Data Transporter product was a cone-shaped 2.5 TB device aimed mainly at the consumer and the SOHO markets. Transporter Genesis is a storage appliance, with support added for Active Directory and AES encryption for data in transit.

"If NetApp and Dropbox got together, they would produce a product that is like [Transporter Genesis]," said Jim Sherhart, Connected Data's vice president of marketing. "This is a Dropbox experience. You get every benefit you get with the public cloud but the privacy and control is on the device."

Sherhart said multiple transporters on-premises provide continuous data protection at the file level so each change is replicated to other transporters. Connected Data uses Amazon for its central server to establish connections between authorized devices.

"The data never goes through our infrastructure," Sherhart said. "We don't see the customers' data. We don't see the metadata. The private encryption key is generated on the transporter and it is always stored in the transporter."

Connected Data is jumping into a market filled with startups offering standalone products and traditional storage vendors adding file sharing capabilities to established products.

Liz Conner, research manager at IDC, said Connected Data wants to give IT more control than early file sharing products provided.

"IT has complete control over all the Transporters. It's still under the control of IT, so they can back up and archive the data," Conner said. "It's a really big private cloud that you can keep attaching pieces to. You do have a lot of people going after this space but there is no primary vendor yet."

Mike Matchett, an analyst at Taneja Group, said Connected Data's Transporter is a private-cloud version of Dropbox.

"You are combining the best of NetApp filers and the benefits of Dropbox but it's private storage," Matchett said. "You don't require a third party. They are saying, 'Look, take this appliance and deploy it.' Then you become your own outsourcer and it's all private."

The Transporter Genesis is scheduled for general availability in mid-November. The Genesis 75 has a list price under $10,000 and the Transporter Genesis 150 is listed at under $20,000.

The Connected Data evolution is similar to the history of its sister company, Drobo, which began with consumer/SOHO NAS systems and later added storage for businesses. Connected Data CEO and founder Geoff Barrall also founded Drobo, and brought them together in a 2013 merger.

Next Steps

Drobo and Connected Data combine NAS, file sync-and-share

More sync-and-share options come with hybrid models

Dig Deeper on Private Cloud Storage

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Do sync-and-share products become more attractive when using a private cloud?
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It's interesting that you didn't include EMC Syncplicity in your article, since it was given the highest ranking in the recent Gartner MQ analysis (http://www.emc.com/about/news/press/2014/20140710-01.htm) for Sync-n-Share Collaboration, as it has options to either run as a SaaS service or connect to on-premises storage.
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In terms of security, sure - but only if the product works as well as public-cloud based solutions like Dropbox. Performance is key to user adoption. 
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