Building a storage startup is no easy task — just ask Markus Rex, the co-founder and CEO of ownCloud.
OwnCloud Inc got its start in December of 2011 as a commercial enterprise. The promise of the commercial enterprise is to build out the enterprise supported version of the open source ownCloud storage system. Today, ownCloud officially released its Enterprise Edition 5.0 release, providing enhanced file sync and share capabilities. Among the improved features is better Active Directory (AD) integration as well as native AES encryption for data at rest.
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In an exclusive video interview with InfoStor, Rex detailed some of the challenges his young company faces and what the future might hold.
Rex said that ownCloud Inc now has over 80 customers and they have sold a ‘six-digit’ number of seats to paying customers.
In terms of challenges, ownCloud faces the same types of organizational and staffing challenges as any startup.
“It’s a small company and you know all the things you have to do, but you never have enough warm bodies to do them,” Rex said. “Everyday normal things start to become something you have to think about.”
Earlier in 2013, the pace of business growth at ownCloud started to accelerate rapidly, and it wasn’t something the company was initially prepared for. Rex admitted that it has taken his company a bit of time to catch up.
The ownCloud business model has an open source community release that comes out first, with an enterprise release coming out several months later. Rex noted that at one point last year, enterprise customers began to request that the enterprise release be available at the same time as the community release.
With the ownCloud 4.5 release that debuted in October of 2012, both the community release and the enterprise release came out at the same time. It’s an experiment that didn’t work, and Rex noted that not everything in the release was as complete as it should have been. As such, the 5.0 release cycle has the enterprise release following the community release by just over two months.
The core of ownCloud remains firmly open source, with the enterprise edition adding in bits that are specifically targeted at large enterprise deployments. One such capability is the audit and logging capability that is present in the enterprise edition.
Moving forward, the plan for ownCloud is to continue to make usability easier, especially for the enterprise release.
On the community side, Rex sees an expanding opportunity for the use of ownCloud as a platform for application delivery.
Watch the full video interview with Markus Rex below:
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InfoStor and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.