VMware gets tentacles into cloud storage with Project Octopus

VMware is offering a private-cloud based platform for document sharing and device syncing that could rival  Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive by giving companies more control over their data.

The product, called Project Octopus Beta, gives access to documents via a native client or a Web client to internal and external users, but gives IT controls over provisioning, authentication and where data is stored.

The Octopus sync client works on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iOS and Android operating systems. Whatever is dropped into the Octopus file on the machine gets synched centrally and becomes available to all that person’s devices and to those authorized to share that data, the company says. The servers supporting the synchronization logs activity to track who shared what with whom.

The product is reminiscent of DropboxGoogle Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, all of which promote document sharing and central syncing with multiple devices. The difference is that this incarnation of Octopus places control of the syncing within the corporate firewall on gear that is privately owned. The others are cloud-based services with the infrastructure included as part of the service.

A major criticism of the cloud-based syncing services is security, and by giving enterprises control of the entire infrastructure, Project Octopus can go a long way toward addressing that by leaving security decisions entirely up to customers.

VMware has been talking about Project Octopus since last year, but starting today, qualified VMware customers can try out the beta version of Project Octopus, an enterprise based platform that syncs files with end user machines.

Unlike file syncing services, Project Octopus gives IT departments the power to dictate what versions are kept, whether they are stored on fast or slow storage and what authentication methods are used to gain access.

End users can leave notes on documents in a comment panel, tag documents as important, and receive notifications when changes are made to those documents.

Customers have the option to run the Project Octopus backend on their own infrastructure or in public clouds, depending on their preference.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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