Egnyte for Cloud file storage, backup

Small businesses, more than their larger counterparts, have really been able to take advantage of Software as a Service (Saas) applications to handle large parts of their technology needs. Salesforce and Highrise handle CRM. Basecamp handles project management. Recently, Microsoft and, to a much large extent, Google Apps are handling enterprise style messaging and calendaring.

However, no one has been able to replace that big server in the closet that serves up files and backs up the desktop computers.

Until now…


Now a new startup is planning on putting that last bit of server hardware out into "the Cloud". Sunnyvale based Egnyte lets small businesses (read: 3-15 employees) operate their file server and backups outside of their local offices.

According to Egnyte’s CEO, Vineet Jain, more than half of their customers are Mac users. Of course, you’d expect to see small creative design shops using a tool like Egnyte, but he says he also sees a lot of people from the medical field that share, exchange and backup huge medical imaging files. He also sees video outfits who want to share large/HD videos with their clients in their original form, not compressed for YouTube or Revver streaming.

The company is small and nimble at this point but they have large ambitions. Just like the Basecamp and Google Apps crowd, they intend to service the millions of small businesses around the world that would like to offload some of their IT infrastructure to service providers.

How does it work? You sign up for a special URL on their webpage. The process is quick and you are ready to go in a minute. You can then upload files to the website like an FTP server. However, this is all web-based for those clients that can’t get their head around the FTP process. In a matter of minutes, I was able to upload a 350 megabyte video file from a web page using my hotel’s shotty Internet connection. I could then download the file quickly onto another computer. The Egnyte interface can also generate a public URL that you can pass along to your clients.

Although recent improvements to Egnyte’s web interface allow multiple file and folder uploads, most people want a more "Desktop-like Experience." Egnyte also has you covered in this area. You can download a 9mb application that creates a share in either Windows or Mac just like a server share using the secure WebDAV protocol. You can also set Egnyte to backup your desktop and servers this way.

The application asks you to put in your company URL name and your username and password. Once successfully authenticated, you can set up your machine to do a granular backup using the web interface. You will also see a mounted share that contains the same directories that the web interface shows. It is all really, really easy.

Testing from Europe the speed was blazingly fast. From my Paris apartment on 100mb fiber, I uploaded a 700mb video in under five minutes. From our firm’s New York Office, files were downloaded from the web even quicker. Egnyte compresses files using the web interface to speed uncompressed files.

The downside is that this service, like all web services, exists outside of your office and largely outside of your control. If the Internet goes down, you are separated from all of your files. Egnyte is working on offering an appliance to its larger customers that will be an rsynced duplicate of their cloud shares.

There is also the small, outside risk of this company going under. Egnyte hopes to quell these fear with a 30-day guarantee. If they are canceling your acount or going offline for any reason, they will give their customers 30 days to download their information off of the servers.

The performance of this service also depends largely on your company’s (and clients’) Internet speed. Normal DSL broadband will be a little clunky uploading and backing up files. You’ll want to be as high end as possible to get the best performance out of Egnyte.

Overall, this is a fantastic service for small organizations. If I had any requests, it’d be that Egnyte work with Basecamp and Google Apps APIs or my company’s LDAP server to authenticate users so two directories don’t need to be created and transparency to users could be implemented.

Leopard Server Preview Woes

How I learned love the enterprise beta-bug.

One problem with Beta-Testing is that you never know how deep you’re in, until its too late. You’ve invested countless man-hours setting up, what should be a simple server, only to find out that the bugs and glitches make it wholey un-TEST-able.

Yes, this is beta-testing which, by all accounts, should be called "Alpha-Testing" and whatever primordial ooze that companies like Apple and Microsoft conjure up in the privacy of their respective skunk-works should be called "procreative speculation".

    -316 smIntStatVErr The InitStatusV field was negative after primary or secondary init.

The point of diminishing returns comes all too late in the game as you strugggle to find purpose in what has turned out to be a frustratig excersize in futility.

You reflect, somewhat somberly, how that at 9:00am, you were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, almost giddy with anticipation about getting your hands dirty in the new pre-release server update. You cancelled your lunch plans, dentist appointment and forwarded your phone straight to voicemail.

    Error from server (debug enabled)

Perhaps you re-install, re-configure re-deploy, smiling all the while at the Execs to whom your career owes its precarious existance to. They don’t care about error strings, debugging or anything having to do with technology for that matter. Remember, these colloge educated Ivy-leagers can’t, won’t and don’t know how to set the time and date in system preferences.

In all fairness, they don’t get paid to give a damn about HOW technology gets implimented. They just want the s*** to work.

    Send bug report

So there you sit, all alone in some cold server room. Probably on your third re-install of the latest pre-release seed, murmering to yourself about how "At least its better than the last seed."

Sort of…

Its now the golden hour, rounding past tea time and you have yet to connect from a client. Your limbs are stiff, your brow is furrowed and you begin to understand just how Charlie Brown felt everytime Lucy took the ball away. If you were a cartoon character, you’d have one of those black, scratched out thought bubbbles over your head.

You reflect once more about how, until recently, Apple has been so conspicuously absent from the world of Enterprise computing. They jumped in to a crowded ring as a rookie and an underdog, with some pretty amazing offerings, some of which have replaced many of the more-expensive tried-and-true server solutions in your own company!

    Check console CrashReporter

So then you wonder, "How could Apple get it so right with Laptops, desktops, a kick-ass OS and a world-dominating MP3 player and a friggin’ phone, but miss the mark completely with its enterprise solutions?". Obviously the right hand is not on spekaing terms with the left.

A jack of all trades and master of a few? The execs who takes pleasure in holding your head under the corporate heat lamp only cares about the technology initiatives mandated by the holding company. They read their trade publications and pick up on stuff like "Web 2.0" and "Service-oriented architecture" to use during meetings and coctail parties without really knowing what they mean.


We already know that they’re not paid to know this stuff. You are. And in the end (all together now): "They just want the s*** to work!"

Right now that’s exactly what you want. Nothing more, nothing less. You would trade all the fancy smoke and mirrors of "Web Collaboration", "Podcasting" and "Social Networking" for some good ol’ solid filesharing…

Yes, I hear you screaming "ITS PRE-RELEASE BETA SOFTWARE!!!" and I agree, we signed on for this. Not for girls, money, fame, power or drugs – and not even industry respect… We signed on because we get the Apple gestalt – lucid, elegant and yet powerful. A dichotomy of IKEA-like simplicity with the power of a stage-one booster rocket.

    Connection failure

Just like any successful NASA Space Shuttle launch, there are a myriad of aborted launches, red-light warnings and close-calls that preceded it, right? Your organic vegan rice-pasta, soy-cheese lasagna didn’t come out right the first time, did it?

This seems somewhere in the middle betweeen rocket science and kitchen alchemy – and what we want now, more than anything in the world, including world peace, the end of global warming and eternal life is for the s*** to just f****** work.

iBlackberry leaked

Imitation = the most sincere form of flattery?   New specs are coming out on the Blackberry 9000 below..


BGR Says specs are:


  • Everything we reported was true. 624MHz processor, 480×320 screen, GPS, Wi-Fi, 3G, etc.
  • The web browser flies. "Loads web pages in 3-4 seconds."
  • The BlackBerry 9000 in its current state runs OS 4.5
  • Early launch date was slated for a consumer AT&T launch on June 18th (3G iPhone?!). Remember that we predicted the device was delayed. See below.
  • The battery lasts around 4 hours with straight phone calling. "Battery sucks, to be honest. With Wi-Fi on, I only got a little less than two hours browsing the web," and all testers are reporting huge battery issues which could be why we’re all hearing it is delayed.
  • We’re not sure of the next part, but he said that the device either has 256MB of internal memory or 128MB. Don’t ask why we couldn’t tell the difference.



Sony pulls its head slightly out of its backside

Sony is probably the biggest perpetrator of loading up their brand new laptops with crapware (stuff like 30-day trials of services that almost no one would ever want – like AOL).  Most Sony laptop owners we know just install a fresh OS on their machines the first time they use them rather than try to uninstall the litany of the crapware individually.  Well, if you are in the market for a Sony laptop, your initial experience with your great Sony hardware could be getting slightly better.

Engadget is reporting that Sony is offering to ship you a machine without putting crapware on it for $50.  So Sony is acknowledging their users might want a better experience out of the box…but then charging for the option.  Sony isn’t really putting a shine on their brand with this new ‘Fresh Start’ initiative are they?

As Mac users who are used to pristine machines out of the box, we can appreciate the "fresh start" but being charged for it leaves the bad taste in our mouths.  Is it really worth the $50 Sony?  To give your customers a nice clean computer that isn’t polluted with applications that give your users a three hour of uninstalations tax?

Update: According to C|Net, Sony caved into our pressure and removed the $50 fee to rmove the crapwarz.  Rest of the industry?  Are you listening?

iPhone: Exchange? Great, but what about Google Apps?

As an IT Administrator that is happily "exchanging" my headache of Active Directory/ Exchange server knowledge in for a company that wants to move to Google Apps, I am surprised that Apple has forgot its best buddy, Google – at least for the time being. 

The SDK announcement yesterday included no reference to Google Apps working on the iPhone.  While I’ve been using IMAP to check my Google Apps Email for awhile now (at push-like 1 minute intervals), it is a bit of a pain to connect to the Calendar and Addressbook through the EDGE web interface.  I would much prefer to use the native apps like Exchange now can.  I also know that I can sync my desktop Calendar and to Google Apps and sync it periodically with the iPhone…but this isn’t really how I’d like to work (well since 1998) – and the point of the iPhone’s Internet connectivity is to be able to receive updates in real time. 

The iPhone doesn’t even support Leopard Server’s iCalendar or LDAP Addressbook.  This has to change – post haste.  It would be really surprising if Apple neglected the standards-compliant Google Apps in favor of Exchange.  Will we see an update soon?  I hope so!  Right?


The SDK is upon us

Today’s iPhone software development kit (SDK) announcement by Apple Inc. — long anticipated and long overdue — is big news for iPhone (and iPod Touch) users. Sure, there’s a hitch: Just like last year, when Apple unveiled the iPhone in January then made would-be buyers wait six months to get their hands on it, everyone will have to wait until June for all the promised applications and advances to arrive.

But it will be well worth the wait.

When the one-year anniversary of iPhone 1.0 rolls around this summer, iPhone fans will get what is essentially version 2.0 of their favorite smartphone. The added features and apps expected then — some of which were showcased by Apple today — will transform the iPhone far beyond what it has been so far.

Hey – Computerworld nicked this (ha) continue reading from there.


Changewave report details iPhone challenges in the business market

Changewave’s latest report gives some very interesting numbers for the iPhone in the business market:

  1. Apple is the number two manufacturer in the planned purchases category (ahead of Nokia (this must be US-centric), Palm, Samsung and Motorola) and already has 5% of the business market. 
  2. Apple leads (59%) the very satisfied category in their survey by double digit numbers and kills Palm and Windows Mobile devices (10-30% very satisfied).
  3. While RIM currently is the market leader by huge numbers, its recent outages and declining satisfaction ratings are leaving a big question mark in the business landscape – one that Apple is hoping to exploit.

All of this makes the March 6th event, which promises some enterprise announcements, all that more exciting for Apple and its (future?) customers.