Moving data to the cloud comes with a "nagging challenge": legacy systems that are "hard to retire" and migrate, according to Box CEO Aaron Levie.

Levie and Box believe they found the answer with a new service called Box Shuttle. Released today, it's designed to help organizations migrate their content to the Box cloud environment. 

Box also offers its Box Consulting services to help organizations shuttle their data because, as Levie put it in an interview with CMSWire this week, "there is a lot of complexity in a migration like this."

Box: We Got This

"We just happen to have an intimate knowledge of how the Box environment works," Levie said. "So we can help accelerate the process of customers mapping their legacy environments to Box. Imagine having two decades worth of a content management structure, and organization and schemas. That's not a trivial process where you hit a button and move it all to the cloud."

Organizations must contend with optimizing network speeds, removing latency from processes and mapping permission models at the same time they deal with hundreds of terabytes of data. Box's managed services helps ensure a smooth process that differentiates it from other migration technology in the space, Levie said.

box ceo aaron levie

Box Shuttle offers the following services for centralizing on Box for content management and collaboration:

  • Partnerships with customers to create an individualized migration plan
  • Work with users to determine what content to keep live, purge, or archive, as well as identify the security and governance requirements for each piece of content
  • Application of existing user permissions, metadata, retention policies and other custom attributes as files into Box

“Migrating that content brings plenty of challenges, ranging from bandwidth costs to the preservation of important contextual information including metadata, retention plans and user permissions," Melissa Webster, program vice president of content and digital media technologies at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, said in a statement. 

"It’s great to see Box addressing this with Box Shuttle.”

Customers Growing

Box is coming off a first quarter in which the Redwood City, Calif. provider reported revenue of $90 million, a 37 percent growth from the prior year's quarter. Box made $300 million in 2016. It also added 5,000 customers for a total of 62,000. 

Cash flow from operations in the first quarter improved to negative $500,000, excluding a one-time litigation settlement.

Asked about the rise in customers, Levie told CMSWire "the robustness of the platform" and capabilities around security, compliance and governance has "allowed us to break into industries as well as sizable organizations we couldn't reach previously."

At the same time, he said, Box's capabilities can be used by SMBs that have the same regulatory and security requirements.

"No two content management environments are alike," Levie said of the Box Shuttle release. "... We recognize we couldn't just throw software over to our customers and have them handle that migration themselves. There's a lot of complexity, nuances and idiosyncrasies depending on the environment you're in."

Part of that migration process is determining which content you actually need, said Levie, who called some of these legacy environments "graveyards for data."

"In many cases, content is redundant to what information you're storing in other systems," Levie said. "We want to ensure you're migrating data to the cloud that is actually information you need."

Bye-Bye, Data Center

Levie told CMSWire "there's almost no reason by 2020 why our any of our customers will still have to have a data center, or have to have network file shares or a file storage infrastructure because we think we'll have all the capabilities ... to be able to move the most important information they're working with to a cloud environment."

Tim Smith, vice president of consulting at Box, blogged today that many businesses that are anxious to adopt cloud technology choose the "lift-and-shift" approach: they transfer files over the public internet from on-premise servers to a cloud service and replicate their same in-house applications in the cloud. 

"While at first glance this sounds like an effective model," he said, "'lift-and-shift' fails to capture the advantages that come with native cloud features. Other businesses turn to ad hoc solutions like asking employees to manually move their content to various cloud solutions." 

Box Shuttle is available in beta today, with general availability expected in the fall.