VMware Set To Launch 'Dropbox For Enterprise' This Quarter


VMware is planning to launch the beta for its Project Octopus cloud storage service by the end of June, and partners are eager to get their hands on one of the pillars of the company's "post-PC" vision.

VMware first introduced Project Octopus at VMworld last September, and company executives have taken to calling it "Dropbox for the enterprise," with the implication that organizations that are allowing their employees to use Dropbox at work are taking an unnecessary risk.

Although Dropbox says it encrypts files on Amazon S3 in secure data centers, there are lingering fears about the service among businesses -- and VMware is looking to quell them with Project Octopus.

"This is absolutely a huge ‘want’ from just about every customer I speak with," said Chris Ward, vice president of consulting and integration at Greenpages, a Kittery, Maine-based VMware partner.

VMware declined to comment on its Project Octopus beta launch plans, which were first reported by CRN on Thursday.

The cloud storage space is a party that many vendors are vying to be seen at, as evidenced by Citrix's acquisition of ShareFile last October and new products from AppSense and RES Software that addresses the security of files being uploaded to the cloud.

Organizations that have deployed VMware desktop virtualization are eager to see what Project Octopus will bring in terms of stronger security.

"The need for security controls in Dropbox is definitely something that companies are struggling with," said Scott Miller, director of cloud and virtualization at World Wide Technology, a Maryland Heights, Mo.-based VMware partner.

Just as Microsoft environments with Active Directory restrict access to certain files to certain users, Project Octopus is also expected to provide access controls for distributed file systems. Keith Norbie, vice president and chief technology officer at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based partner, expects remote data wipe capability to be part of the package.

AppBlast, VMware's technology for delivering Windows and other apps to Web browsers and device supporting HTML 5, and Horizon, its cloud-based identity system, are critical parts of the company's vision for a future in which PCs are relegated to the sidelines, and replaced by non Windows devices for primary computing purposes.

"If you have a way to pull apps and data into a browser, and cloud storage, and a universal agent on devices, you have to ask yourself why you'd need a desktop," he said.