Hitachi Data Systems is joining the crowded online file-sharing market today with the launch of HCP Anywhere, released as part of its HCP 6 object storage cloud archiving system.
HCP Anywhere lets users collaborate on files through any device, using the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) as back-end storage. Users see the files through a Windows Explorer-like interface, and file changes and deletions show up in real time.
HCP Anywhere comes a week after NetApp launched NetApp Connect, based on its acquisition of ionGrid, and two weeks after EMC extended the file-sharing capability it acquired from Syncplicity.
Enterprise storage vendors are addressing file sharing as large companies express security concerns about users sharing information on mobile devices. At the same time, online file-sharing pioneers such as Box, Dropbox and Egnyte have moved to bolster security to make their offerings better suited to the enterprise.
Jeff Lundberg, senior manager of file content and cloud product marketing for Hitachi Data Systems, said the design goal for HCP Anywhere was to make it easy for users to master while giving administrators control.
HCP Anywhere is a licensed feature of HCP. Lundberg said HCP Anywhere works with iOS and Android devices, as well as with "any other device that can be seen with a Web browser."
"If you know how to use Windows Explorer or [Mac] Finder, or your phone or Web browser, you can use this without any training," he said. "A lot of file-sharing services don't lend themselves to the types of files people are sharing today -- they're using bigger files on more powerful devices. IT is trapped in the land of VPNs and heavyweight ways of managing content for files."
Users can download the HCP Anywhere client application, and it integrates with Microsoft Active Directory to help admins add and manage users. Admins can then set user policies, groups and permissions, and can wipe or delete data if a device is lost or stolen.
Customers can also store files on private clouds or public clouds maintained by service providers using HCP.
NetApp Connect is integrated with NetApp's Data Ontap operating system, which runs on its FAS unified storage arrays. EMC Syncplicity works with the vendor's VNX unified storage arrays, Atmos object cloud storage and Isilon scale-out network-attached storage (NAS).
HCP isn't as well used as the platforms supported by Syncplicity or NetApp Connect -- or even Hitachi's Virtual Storage Platform -- but IDC Research Director Ashish Nadkarni said file collaboration is better suited to object storage.
"Hitachi had to get in there," he said. "Using an object platform is a step in the right direction. Mobile sync and share needs to be mated to object storage because of how it functions. Clients are moving behind [Network File Storage] NFS and [Common Internet File System] CIFS [NAS protocols], and the only way to access corporate data is often through an application."
Nadkarni said he expects other enterprise storage vendors to follow with their own file-sharing platforms.
"People are no longer only using desktops and laptops for file shares," he said. "They need data on the go, so they use mobile devices or tablets to access data wherever they are."