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ECM company Alfresco (news, site) heads for the clouds with a small biz beta version of its social ECM, hosted on Amazon EC2.

Something for the Little Guy

Small businesses that are expanding to meet the Web 2.0 world need access to all kinds of IT systems that, only a few years, ago would have cost thousands of dollars in infrastructure and software. Now, it's about as simple as turning on a software switch and entering your company credit card details. Witness London, England-based Alfresco and its cloud-based content appliance.

Just pay and go. Using shampoo and conditioner is now a more complicated task. The early beta access will allow Alfresco to test both need and the resilience of its and Amazon's EC2 systems. Partnering with Jumpbox, to create the appliances, Alfresco SMB Edition is available to companies with less than 100 users, who are willing to provide feedback and have some experience with Amazon services.

If your outfit matches that, then you can apply for the beta here. US companies can apply now, Europe can sign up in a couple of weeks, so keep watching.

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Administer your apps from the cloud
 

What's In the Box?

The SMB Edition will feature Explorer, a document management tool and Share for social collaboration plus Alfresco server. The document management system offers a repository for file storage, integration with Microsoft Office and workflow. On the collaboration side, virtual teams can be created, activities created, tracked and ticked off.

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The Alfresco Share dashboard

With 200GB of available storage, the package should allow most small companies a foothold on, or upgrade into, a cloud-based system of content and collaboration. A full release is expected in the second quarter of the year.

If your company is unsure about heading into the cloud, a podcast by Alfresco's Ian Howells may prove worth a listen. It highlights why companies are moving to cloud-based services, what Alfresco's strategy is and other details.