Online Data Depositories Go Beyond Mere Storage

Virtual vaults secure data but it’s what users can do to stored data that is setting providers apart.
Posted January 10, 2008

Judy Mottl

Online storage solutions are popping up everywhere on the Web, offering small home office and business users a variety of options. Most, if not all, provide easy-to-use upload and download functionality and file sharing capabilities—putting the data storage approach more than a few steps ahead of the granddaddy of online storage: FTP sites.

The key elements setting services apart, at least at this point, are reliability, availability and extra-rich features.

That’s what DigitalBucket is banking on in terms of market strategy. In public beta until early February, the San Jose-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider is built on Amazon’s Simple Storage Service—the e-commerce vendor’s own data infrastructure—an aspect that CEO Greg Hacobian claims provides high reliability and scalability few market competitors offer at this point.

“Our focus is as a software provider that offers a reliable storage service that can expand with a business or user’s needs. People want to access stored data everywhere and anywhere they are, so providing a central location provides that kind of access as well as the ability to share,” explained Hacobian in an interview with .

With a clean and simple site design, DigitalBucket makes account setup so simple it’s nearly silly. It’s just name, e-mail, password and the account (including clicking through an e-mail login link) is open in just minutes. Once logged in, hit the "manage your files" link and you’re able to load, download, share, e-mail and delete files in whatever folder set-up created.

Moving files between folders is just drag and drop and users can even change document views in the file manager from icons to thumbnails to details. Want to know the last time you modified a stored doc? The file manager profile gives that info as part of the file detail data.

But it’s really what lies behind the basic features that will cement the user experience given the varied files in play and online data interaction users have come to expect.

With a quick login and a few clicks, users can post a file to a blog tethered to LiveJournal, TypePad, Blogger or WordPress. Want to edit that business strategy presentation you stored last week? You don’t have to download it, edit it and then upload it back into storage.

Thanks to DigitalBucket’s use of Zoho applications, users can edit Word, text, HTML, Excel and even graphical presentation files right where they’re housed. If you’re not content with the Zoho apps, you can edit with other online tools including Snipshot or Picnik.

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