Oxygen Cloud is an infrastructure to access content from anywhere by connecting it to a customer’s private storage system. That’s a pretty simple offering. But for many companies, this is the overriding issue. They struggle with how to move data around between a corporate network and a device outside the firewall.
This capability gives Oxygen enough distinction to compare it to Amazon Web Services. (AWS). AWS is far more sophisticated than Oxygen in its overall service. But in February, AWS launched its Amazon Gateway, which connects an on-premises software appliance with AWS cloud-based storage. That’s quite similar to what Oxygen offers.
The services differ in the respect that AWS backs up application data while Oxygen focuses on making files behind the firewall available to the end user. But the overall concept is the same. AWS shares data through a gateway installed on the customer’s infrastructure.
It’s the bi-directional capabilities that Oxygen offers to the corporate network that gives it some distinction. AWS may have this capability but it is not something they publicize. Its focus is on uploading data to AWS, not working in a bi-directional way. Oxygen has chosen user data as its focus. But it’s logical for Oxygen to extend into the application market with a capability that differs from AWS and other services. With no cloud in between, a developer could use internal resources to manage the app and its associated data any time, any where, without the hassle of working remotely with a service like AWS.
Oxygen Cloud is a service that connects directly to your storage system. It gives customers access to content, essentially abstracting the virtual private network. Last week the company launched its Open Storage Grid, which Oxygen says offers the performance and economics of private storage infrastructure with a cloud service that scales data access to millions of users and devices. See Stuart Miniman’s post last week for a strong, technical overview.
Customers install Oxygen Cloud on any Windows machine. A Linux version will be available this week. It can then be connected to a home network attached storage system or one on the corporate network. For example, Oxygen’s Open Storage Grid supports EMC enterprise storage including VNX, Isilon and Atmos platforms.
Once installed, all capacity becomes available through Oxygen. That can help clients eliminate the need to upload data to a different cloud. IT can protect the content according to its policies.
This raises some interesting questions. It can take considerable time to upload data to a cloud service. The external cloud service sits outside the domain of the customer, raising concerns about the security of the data itself. It’s clear that service providers have shown that their security matches or exceeds what a company may provide on-premise. Still, perceptions endure and IT has a history of liking control over the data. The problem? IT also has a a way of royally pissing off its customer who don’t want to wait for them to set up the VPN. They then go directly to a service like Dropbox or Google Docs as a place to keep and manage their files.
Oxygen claims it can keep costs under $10,000 for 55 terabytes of usable storage. That comes out to 16 cents per gigabyte. According to Oxygen, the cost per gigabyte for Box is $5.40 over three years. AWS is $3.98 and NetApp is $2.29. Dropbox is next lowest. Oxygen estimates its cost is 71 cents per gigabyte.
The Oxygen use cases are different than AWS. AWS wants you to store your data in its cloud. Oxygen sees itself as a service that keeps the data on the customer network and creates secure direct channels to the data only when the customer needs it.
Oxygen has some challenges. The company may not like it but it will continue to get compared to Dropbox and other services.
But is this a disruptive concept? It could eliminate the need for a customer to use a third party cloud service. It’s an advantage in that way. So, it’s a start.
But I want more. We’ll see how the open-source community hacks Oxygen. I’d like to see there be a developer oriented focus to it. If it can bridge into the developer world then it has a chance to start developing an ecosystem. That’s a play AWS has done quite well with over the years. If Oxygen can do that, too, then it has a potential to be a worthy competitor in a very competitive market.