NetApp Completes ionGrid Acquisition

One of the lesser known stories of NetApp’s earnings report this week is that they have completed the acquisition of ionGrid; mobility software that allows corporate users to access internal documents securely on IOS, and soon to be, Android devices.

This is a good pickup for NetApp as IT organizations are desperately looking for Dropbox like capabilities for corporate documents.  Most organizations completely prevent internal fileserver access as a security measure.  In turn, users leverage apps like Dropbox or SugarSync to sync corporate documents to hosted, public could services and completely defeat any control IT has for document security.

Technologies like ionGrid must be implemented in order to allow mobile device users secure, easy access to corporate documents–otherwise users will find less secure ways to remain productive.

Mid-last year, EMC acquired Syncplicity, which competes in the same space.  Due to EMC’s security portfolio, they will have a much easier time of positioning Syncplicity than NetApp, as they can deliver the message to both security and storage teams.

NetApp will need to work primarily in the existing storage sales lanes of organizations.  NetApp’s lack of security offerings and sales knowledge will leave them at a disadvantage when trying to reach security teams who, in many cases, own responsibility for secure mobile access.

That being said, I think NetApp ionCloud may have an advantage with the flexibility of their offering.  Their architecture appears simpler than Syncplicity, and ionCloud can be deployed into existing fileshare environments with only some additional compute resources needed.   True to EMC’s style, Syncplicity Business Edition only comes with EMC storage hardware.  You have your pick between Isilon or Atmos and your data must exist or be synced to these platforms in order for it to be accessible.  This will most likely put EMC at a price disadvantage at the lower end of the market or in existing customer storage environments, where they only wish to add secure mobility capabilities.  In green-fields or in large environments, where hardware is required regardless, it will be a much closer competition.

Keep in mind that this market is in it’s infancy.  There are other players such as OxygenCloud and Accellion to be considered as well.  It is far too early to place bets on who will own this space with so much innovation left to be done.  All these companies have big plans for mobile access, that I’m certain of.

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