My training engagement landed me in Manila this week. At the back of my mind is Novell Filr, first revealed to me a week ago by my buddy at Novell Malaysia. After almost 18 months since I first wrote about it, Novell Filr is about to be revealed in my blog within this month. And it has come at an opportune time, because the enterprise BYOD/file synchronization market is about to take off.
Gartner defines this market as Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) and it is already a very crowded market given the popularity of Dropbox, Box.net, Sugarsync and many, many others. It is definitely a market that is coveted by many but mastered by a few. There are just too many pretenders and too few real players.
The proliferation of smart phones and tablets and other mobile devices has opened up a burgeoning need to have data everywhere. The wonderfulness of having data right at the fingertips every time they are wanted give rise to the need of wanting business and corporate data to be available as well. The power of having data instantly at the swipe of our fingers on the touchscreen is akin us feeling like God, giving life to our communication and us making opportunities come alive at the very moment.
Well, guess what … (as quoted in Spiderman) – “With great powers comes great responsibilities“. The corporate data and files shared must be made available with control and security. That’s what folks at IT and MIS want to do and that is to control and secure the files and data so that they don’t go beyond the boundaries and domain of corporate network. And IT is constantly challenged to fight data leakage and intends to keep data and files as secure as possible.
Unfortunately, many employees chose convenience and productivity of sharing files and data over the pedantic control and security of IT. This has lead to the popularity of cloud-based file sharing and multi-device file synchronization services such as Dropbox, Box.net and many, many others. These start-ups with different variations of File Synchronization and Sharing are growing like wildfire and this only confirms and validates the significance of this market.
But what most do not realize is that these “Dropbox”-like file synchronization and sharing services have 2 main flaws:
1) They are not Enterprise, which means they constantly lacks the security, service availability and they do not meet many companies’ data privacy and compliance regulations.
2) This market is burgeoning and dominated by start-ups. The big boys have started to take notice and soon, the market will go through a shake-up which can either have the start-ups being acquired or reduced to rubble in the wake of wealthier and stronger competitors. This means there is a possibility this is not a viable long-term strategy, something businesses and corporations fear.
At one end, in the more consumer space and the social media savvy crowd, there is Google GDrive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Apple iCloud, Dropbox Enterprise trying to convince businesses by offering very low cost services with the enterprise “look-and-feel”. However, these services require businesses to move their data into the Cloud with little regard that there are many internal file sharing services via file servers and NAS storage that are driving employees’ home directories, user working folders and even enterprise business applications. Businesses do not take such risks moving their file services to the cloud.
Coming from the other end, enterprise solution companies have began offering Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solutions. There are NetApp with ionGrid, EMC Syncplicity, Acronis GroupLogic, VMware Project Horizon, Citrix ShareFile and a few more. And then there is the Novell Filr, which has just been released into the open at the end of April 2013.
I promised more than a year ago to write about the Novell Filr when it is released and this blog entry is to start off that journey to discover more about the Novell Filr technology.
The landscape has certainly changed since then. The file synchronization and sharing market is beginning to take on the Enterprise responsibilities. IT and MIS have released some of their fears of losing security and control of BYOD/File sharing as solutions such as Novell Filr are beginning to help alleviate fears and challenges by imposing greater control on security concerns but at the same time, unleashing the internal and corporate file sharing and NAS services beyond corporate networks to increase the convenience and simplicity of accessing these data and files and improves employees’ productivity with multi-device and mobility support.
In the coming blog entries, I intend to delve deeper into Novell Filr technology and share with you where Novell Filr is different amid the sea of enterprise file synchronization and sharing solutions.