Barracuda jumps into the file sync and share space

There are almost, but admittedly not quite, as many file-sharing vendors as their are prospective customers for those vendors' products. So is Barracuda's new product anything new?

hybrid cloud

CudaDrive. It's not exactly a name which rolls off the tongue. Indeed, when I first heard it, I thought the PR person was referring to some new product to protect against head lice. Upon a deeper dive, however, I realized that CudaDrive is the name of  Barracuda's new file-sharing solution.

Barracuda is, of course, the vendor delivering security and storage solutions. Over 150,000 organizations worldwide use Barracuda's products. But until now, Barracuda has mainly played in the heavy infrastructure space. CudaDrive takes them much closer to actual end users.

So, what is CudaDrive exactly? Barracuda is touting CudaDrive as a secure cloud file-sharing solution. The emphasis, unsurprisingly given Barracuda's history, is on "secure." Also, given the company's background, it is unsurprising to see that CudaDrive is also being offered via an on-premises appliance. The idea being that, unlike pure-play cloud-based file-sharing solutions like Google Drive or Box, CudaDrive will help organizations with a slow and steady transition from existing corporate file shares. CudaDrive enables users to access files stored in the Barracuda cloud from anywhere or any device, and helps preserve storage space by not requiring synced copies of files to be stored locally.

This space, helpfully labelled EFSS by industry analysts (short for enterprise file sharing and synchronization), is an incredibly busy one. Pure-play vendors like Box, Egnyte and Accellion do battle with the platform plays of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services. There are literally dozens of vendors delivering essentially the same product. Meanwhile, the cost of storage trends ever downwards. What is it that makes Barracuda think it can stand out?

According to the press release, it's all about data protection, deduplication of synced copies, and a simple pricing scheme. Oh my, that is a list that is table stakes in the space. There's no added value in there - while other vendors are talking about analytics over the stored data and the addition of workflow into the mix, Barracuda is talking a 1990's pure storage message. This won't end well. The company is, like other legacy companies, either ignorant of the competitive facts or blind to them:

“We’ve helped many companies back up and protect server data with our Barracuda Backup product, and now with CudaDrive, we’re able to protect end-user data and provide easy sharing,” says Rod Mathews, general manager of storage for Barracuda. “It’s not uncommon that users view, share, and store corporate data from many different access points, whether on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, presenting a challenge for companies to ensure that all of this data is protected. CudaDrive helps solve the common business challenge of enabling access to corporate files from any remote device while protecting data stored on those devices in the event of a failure or loss.”

Oh my. That's Aaron Levie (the CEO and co-founder of Box) and his message from about 2008. Without the hyperactivity, cool shoes, and big hair. It gets worse. The boilerplate setting out the benefits of this product is a travesty of being behind the eight ball:

"Designed for business, CudaDrive automatically replicates document and desktop folders to the cloud, with the ability to manually protect certain folders. Users also can benefit from the virtual drive feature, which provides an identical view of the user’s files stored in the Barracuda cloud, even if the files and folders are not stored on the users’ local hard drive."

I have very little hope for this product. While it may be marginally good for existing Barracuda customers who can screw their sales rep to throw it in for free, at $39.99 per month for a paltry 100GB of storage, this is one product launch that generates a resounding "meh" from me.

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