Larry Ellison isn’t the only one who has his reservations regarding the legitimacy of cloud computing. Synctus, a bootstrapped Manchester-based startup, is emerging from stealth with the introduction of a hardware product that aims to increase the speed and efficiency of file sharing between different offices of the same company.
Traditional file sharing between branches often relies on virtual private networks (VPNs). But when a VPN is utilized by multiple users, it is many times bogged down due to the fact that every action has to be relayed to the main office and back again to the source. Furthermore, the use of VPNs can lead to synchronization issues. For instance, if someone is editing a certain document, and another user accesses said document, an error will occur.
While cloud products such as Dropbox are great for file-sharing, they must be set up on each computer within the network, which adds more duties for IT admins. Additional administrative duties notwithstanding, Synctus is banking on the reluctance of companies to embrace the cloud as well as wishing to preserve the status-quo.
Setting up Synctus follows the plug-and-play model. Companies need only plug the hardware appliance into a power source and a network connection. Synctus then automatically creates an encrypted link between the two appliances, ensuring the transfer of files is secure. Once the installation is complete, remote users in a branch office are able to access files at the headquarters, and vice versa. In order to deal with synchronization issues, Synctus locks files which are in use by other persons, thus ensuring that conflicts do not occur: just as if they were accessing the document in the same office. Once files are closed, Synctus synchronizes the documents across the network and unlocks the document.
While the product is initially set up for two locations, additional appliances can be added. The administrator need only call Synctus and inform them of the addition, and Synctus will reprogram the first two appliances to recognize additional units.
The hardware appliances are priced at 600 pounds each, which means at least 1200 pounds for a set. They include 250GB of space, but can be upgraded to 750 GB for the cost of the additional hard drive space.