In the Enterprise of yesteryear, Information Management was typically an either/or proposition.
Either IT was happy or end users were happy, but rarely both at the same time. Someone, at either end of the equation, almost always ended up bald; not from alopecia, but from pulling their hair out in frustration because of something done (or not done) by the other.
A Cloud for Everyone?
But those days are now over. Not only are there hair plugs and Rogaine, but everyone’s also busy dancing together in the Nirvana of the Cloud. IT delivered consumer-style is a given. Trouble-free anywhere, anytime, access to your documents and other content via the device of your choice is always an option, right?
Or at least, not so much, in some highly regulated industries where the only mobile device commonly used to access enterprise information is a laptop.
No doubt this frustrates workers who choose to comply with corporate polices and rules and who also, in their personal lives, enjoy accessing content like music, movies, receipts and so on via iPads or Android phones. “We can do all of that and we don’t even have an IT department,” they say.
Ditto for the would-be rule breakers who discover that their employers have blocked their access to services like Box and Dropbox.
Both groups are troubled by the fact that they’re stuck in the dark ages because their companies must comply with long-standing corporate governance and data sovereignty policies regarding storage and handling of files that make cloud-based storage solutions difficult to deploy at enterprise-scale.
“Get with it IT,” they want to say. “You can do anything in the cloud that you can do on the ground.”
But “there are certain things that SaaS and storing files on the cloud is not a good fit for”, says Terri McClure, a Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a leading IT research, analysis and strategy firm. She cites personal health records as an example. Both in Canada and in many European countries, these types of files and their data must by law stay in the country, according to McClure, which makes lobbing them up and onto the Cloud, and storing them wherever, a lousy option.
This leaves IT Managers, CIOs and even their bosses between a rock and a hard place; on one hand they are charged with complying with the rules and on the other delivering a delightful, consumer-like experience to end users (in this case that would mean mobile access from a cloud-based file-sharing service).
Nearly all managers choose abiding by the rules, of course, because there’s a very certain cost for failing to adhere to regulations: namely fines, damages and maybe even jail time.
Now there are Enterprises that have attempted to cobble together various vendor solutions to enable mobile access and sharing of on-premises files but their pains have been great and their success has been limited.
But this no longer needs to be the case.
Mobile Access for All
EMC today announced two new single vendor solutions featuring EMC’s Syncplicity Cloud-Based Online File Sharing Service paired with EMC Isilon Scale-Out Storage and/or EMC Atmos Object-Based Storage.
In other words, EMC Syncplicity users will now be able to access and share content via mobile devices, regardless of where files reside (on premises or on the cloud.) This is made possible through Syncplicity’s collaboration with sister companies EMC Isilon and Atmos.
From the press release:
EMC’s approach provides enterprises the best of all worlds -- a cloud-based online file sharing offering that simplifies end user deployment and administration with on-premise storage that gives IT control of the storage layer, in addition to continuing to provide Syncplicity in the cloud.
For on-premise storage, Syncplicity users can choose from two industry leading storage platforms: EMC Isilon or EMC Atmos – whichever best meets their requirements. EMC Isilon provides the industry’s easiest to manage, top performing and massively scalable NAS solution, capable of growing from 10’s of terabytes to 10’s of petabytes, providing IT full control over where files reside across their global infrastructure.
EMC Atmos provides industry leading object storage technology, designed to support large multi-site, multi-tenant, active-active environments. Atmos allows the application and storage to run anywhere and provides metering and chargeback capabilities based on bandwidth and consumption to ensure IT retains the necessary controls."
What it comes down to is this: This new product/service option not only makes online file access and collaboration via mobile device simple and possible for a whole new set of Enterprises and users, but it also delivers a SaaS-like experience with a consumer-like feel that is updated regularly without any intervention for IT.
“It’s the best of both worlds” says Jeetu Patel, Vice President and General Manager of the Syncplicity Business Unit, Information Intelligence Group, EMC Corporation. “Users are delighted and IT is happy.”
And there’s one more thing. Because the solution comes from a single vendor there are no fingers to point and only one throat to choke.
Analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Research Director at The 451, suggests that this might be the beginning of a trend.
“In the past year cloud based file sharing and sync has gone from a market in its own right to enabling functionality,” he says. “EMC seem to be making the right moves by utilising the Syncplicity technology to essentially widen the reach of its storage solutions. I think we will see many more moves like this in the coming year.”