Thrilled to have an IT Depends guest post from Kristine Kao. You'll see Kristine post here as she continues to play a key role as an analyst covering storage here at ESG, with a specific focus on Online File Sharing and Collaboration—or what we affectionately call OFS. - Terri
Over the last 18 months, the OFS market has boomed—ESG has gone from covering 8 vendors to 50+ and counting. In a market such as this, where release cycles average between 4-6 weeks, it’s hard to keep up with the new market entrants and new releases! Dropbox’s announcements to date provide a good example.
I recently wrote a brief about the Dropbox admin console update and permissions announcement they made a month or two ago. In the brief, I suggested that those were good steps in the right direction to make the solution more business friendly, but I also mentioned Dropbox would need additional features like SSO and AD integration to make it truly an option for midsized and enterprise businesses.
The brief was in the final stages of production when we got news of another announcement—low and behold, the items I listed Dropbox as lacking came in their next release, and I had to update the paper! You'll see that brief soon.
So why the fast pace and interest in OFS?
- There is $$$ in it. Dropbox and Box both announced huge rounds of funding last year to the total of $250+M each
- This is a land grab market—there are a lot of OFS vendors and a lot of OFS confusion—T shops are still trying to figure out which is best for them as well as what features they should be using as criteria for judging, which brings me to the next point…
- Vendors are in an arms race to “out-feature” competitors—vendors come in from varying spaces (mobile backup, MAM , security, etc.) and come with different use cases/feature sets. Customers are demanding features and vendors are rushing to add/integrate them. Software offered by SaaS providers (as many OFS solutions are) is also inherently easier to update than traditional software that require users to download new versions—they allow latest and greatest versions to be pushed directly from vendors to ensure clients are always using the freshest product (and users are always happy, bug fixes happen fast!).
OFS is a fascinating space—arguably one of the quickest growing markets the storage industry has seen. In addition, this is the perfect storm in which there is a ton of enterprise interest in adopting solutions, but there is no dominant vendor yet in the business space—guaranteeing continued interest and activity for all those involved (solution providers, customers, investors, etc). ESG is dedicated to keeping up with the OFS players and new developments (however fast they come!!)… so stay tuned!