• United States

iFolder wins glittering prize

May 13, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* SIIA awards iFolder "Best Storage Software 2002"

I told you that iFolder was the “best new thing” in NetWare 6, right? I also told you it was among the “really neat things” in NetWare 6.5. Along the way, Novell saw fit to release it as a stand-alone product and at least one forward thinking company [HP] saw fit to incorporate iFolder into a bundled “solution,” making iFolder the centerpiece its Digital Assets Protection product.

Now, it seems, even the rest of the computing industry is recognizing what a great idea iFolder really is. So much so that the product recently won the “Codie” award as Best Storage Software for 2002. You don’t know the Codie? It’s the software equivalent of Hollywood’s Oscar, TV’s Emmie or Broadway’s Tony – an award voted on by your peers in the industry. In this case, it’s the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) that presents the trophy.

The SIIA has been around for almost 20 years and is made up of more than 650 industry (software and data content) members. It is, frankly, a lobbying group. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with lobbyists, mind you. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is also a lobbying group, but millions of people tune in to watch the Oscars every year. Millions didn’t turn out for the Codie banquet in San Francisco last week, but hundreds of software and information industry executives did attend the black-tie dinner and ceremony at SIIA’s 2003 Annual Conference, where the Codie Awards were presented to representatives of the 40 winning companies. Forty winners, out of 330 nominees – that’s more exclusive than the Oscars, certainly.

I recognized the benefit of iFolder early on. Most of you immediately grasped its utility and benefit. Companies like HP saw that it was a simple, elegant solution. Now Novell’s peers in the software vendor community have honored the application with a prestigious award. You’d think everyone would, by now, understand that this is the best idea to come along in quite some time. You would, of course, be wrong.

For the benefit of the newcomers, iFolder is a data synchronization tool. Using a server as a hub, it automatically synchronizes files on your local storage devices for people who use desktops in the office, PCs at home, laptops in hotel rooms, PDAs in a restaurant or smartphones at the beach. Your files are always available, always in sync – as long as you have your local storage device turned on, the iFolder client running, and you’re connected to the iFolder server over either a public or a private connection. Seems straightforward enough, right?

Yet there was someone, just last week, asking Novell how to limit iFolder users to no more than one simultaneous connection. I didn’t hear how this requirement came about, but I can image than some marketing bozo saved a file – maybe overwrote a file – and immediately realized there’d been a mistake. But iFolder works very quickly and quite possibly that mistake was already synchronized to all platforms. As usual, the technology gets blamed for the user’s mistake. We may no longer see news stories that begin “Computer bills customer for a billion dollars!” but people are still willing to blame the computer when something goes wrong.

This time, something went right and the software industry recognized it. Bravo Novell – let’s see a dozen more iFolders.