The cloud storage world has become a hotbed of competition with no signs of cooling off. Even as cloud storage matures, it can still be tricky to handle, especially as customers demand both ubiquity and security of information .
These demands have many vendors scrambling to stay abreast of enterprise demands that often push the boundaries of what cloud storage can provide.
Box Inc. (formerly Box.net) has expanded considerably from its original file-sharing roots, capitalizing on the dynamic of the enterprise storage space as it battles rivals such as Salesforce.com and hip-checks ad-hoc Dropbox environments out of the workplace. Box has long focused on the enterprise, but the company now wants to bring more to the workplace. Much the way Google Inc.’s Fiber seeks to improve the capabilities of the Internet by delivering gigabit speeds, Box is trying to change cloud storage by increasing upload speeds.
Dubbed ‘Box Accelerator,’ Box promises this technology platform will ”fundamentally change the way people work,” thanks to its new “enterprise-grade global data transfer network.” This expanding network, currently featured in nine locations including the U.S. Northwest, Midwest and East Coast, is set to improve the entire Box experience by up to 10 times. Box wanted to ensure this speed edge, so it contracted company Neustar Inc., which independently tested Box’s services, finding that on average, upload times were nearly 3 times faster than Box’s closest competitors.
Box, of Los Altos, Calif., was able to produce upload times around 15 seconds, while Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft Corp.’s SkyDrive ranged between 40 to 60 seconds respectively. On the surface, this is impressive, but it’s important to take Box’s figures with a grain of salt. Likewise, it’s equally important to consider the implications of increased speed. Simply put, speed has value.
Channel partners that are struggling to find value-add amid the sea of cloud solutions should consider speed as a key way to differentiate across the marketplace. When companies have gigabytes and (soon) terabytes of data to upload every day, every extra second is a second that counts to improving overall quality of service and productivity overhead. This isn’t to say that partners should start leveraging Box as their cloud storage provider, but keeping an eye on the quality of cloud storage technology can go a long way to ensuring that cloud solution providers are building on robust and actionable cloud platforms.
Right now, cloud services are still coming into their own, so speed of service has taken a back-seat to feature sets and product breadth — but not for long. By 2014, the deliverable speed of a cloud service will be critical to SMB and enterprise strategies alike — and once again — the channel has a true opportunity to capitalize.
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