Xdrive Readies Next Phase Of Storage-As-Service Plan - InformationWeek

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Xdrive Readies Next Phase Of Storage-As-Service Plan

Phase two of Web-based storage and document-management service includes timed backup and one-touch recovery.

Xdrive Inc. apparently didn't get the message that storage as a service can't work. Even though market leader StorageNetworks Inc. blew through almost $500 million buying all the hardware necessary for its customers to receive storage as a service and is trying to become a storage-management software vendor, Xdrive is preparing to go into phase two of its Web-based storage and document-management service, including timed backup and recovery at the touch of a screen.

Beta tests of the backup feature will begin next week, letting customers simply click on "Backup" for either a full or incremental backup of their data. This could be a breakthrough for users who never back up their data. Each week in January and February, Xdrive will launch pages to add features, improve online customer support, and enhance the workgroup capabilities of the site so multiple workers can be confident they're all working on the same real, clean data. A workgroup version of the service is $99 per month for almost 2 Mbytes of capacity.

Xdrive's software-subscription service will continue to require no extra investments in hardware, software, firewalls, or hands-on management. The vendor's offering started out as a tool for individual users, but the workgroup feature that lets multiple remote or traveling users gain access to and share company data has drawn the attention of a lot of customers.

Marty Pingree, remote technical manager at World Wrestling Entertainment Corp., started benefiting from Xdrive about eight months ago, before the workgroup feature was introduced. The WWE travels from city to city, hiring part-time employees everyplace it goes. When Pingree tried to send important Word and Excel messages to workers in a new city, they couldn't open the files. America Online users had the hardest time, Pingree says. "I needed a secure central site with wide range," he says.

Pingree was happy that Xdrive let him send information at first. Then he sent out schedules and noticed that departments such as audio, grip, and, cameras were storing information on Xdrive by department. Now he can start looking at last year's show as WWE begins to create this year's model in a certain city. Xdrive's benefit is what Pingree doesn't have to do. "We'd put holes in our own network, and I didn't want to be liable for people getting in and screwing with it, and I don't have to call corporate IT when I have a problem," he says. "With Xdrive, storing and sending messages is their bread and butter." He'll need plenty of bread and butter this week, as three WWE events--a pay-per-view show, Raw, and SmackDown--all take place.

Even without three big events or projects in a week, industry analyst Nancy Marrone at Enterprise Storage Group says the secure transmission of documents to remote users is "somewhat of a nightmare for lots of small and medium companies." Xdrive can bring those companies security, varying capacities of storage, and one clean copy of data, she says. "With any remote workforce, data demands are high and constantly changing."

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