How Box Plans to Disrupt the Era of Conventional Storage

The whole idea is to bring to users secure access to all files stored in Box with the familiar feel of traditional network-shared drives.

Aaron Levie Box

Data storage disruptor Box is quietly on a quest to replace conventional physical storage systems. Yes, we’re talking about the same storage hardware and software systems on which enterprises have been spending millions of dollars for decades.

While it’s not exactly there yet, the Redwood City, Calif.-based cloud storage and collaboration tool provider took a big step forward June 14 in unveiling Box Drive, a new desktop-based application that runs the cloud storage service as if it were controlling a physical drive in a SAN (storage-area network) or NAS (network-attached storage).

The whole idea is to bring to users secure access to all files stored in Box with the familiar feel of traditional network-shared drives.

Makes Available All Box Features on a Desktop

Box Drive is more than just a PC-based app with access to Box’s cloud storage. Without Box Drive, users have to download files from Box storage individually; using the new, free-of-charge desktop app, everything in Box storage is available on demand, and it looks and acts just like an enterprise network storage system.

“This is a perfect combination of file storage, security and all of our other capabilities (such as compliance, data governance, data residency, and others) directly mapped to your computer. It’s really a first-of-its-kind app built for the enterprise,” CEO and founder Aaron Levie told eWEEK.

“Not only will Box Drive make collaborating on content easier, it also signals the beginning of the end for expensive network file shares. Enterprises can accelerate their move to the cloud, enhance security, and significantly reduce IT costs,” Levie said.

Using Box Drive, users can create, edit, find and share files without ever leaving their desktop. Storage is limited only to the capacity the enterprise wants to purchase.

Box Drive uses a familiar file finder interface that is natively integrated into Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, so users simply click open their Box Drive folder to gain instant access to all of their files. For example, when a user creates a new document, edits a PDF or uploads a new video in Box Drive, all changes are automatically saved back to Box and are instantly visible to team members.

Replacing Legacy Storage Could Save Millions for Some Companies

Looking ahead, how much longer will it be until Box—and other cloud providers like it—are controlling all of an enterprise’s storage through an app like this one, rendering expensive physical storage arrays obsolete? That’s a question for the future, and regulated industries will have other questions, but the answer may come sooner than one might think.

Box projects that customers across the real estate, health care and financial services industries alone have the potential to see cost savings of $1.3 million to as high as $6 million or more over three years when retiring legacy infrastructure with Box.

Box IT admins can also augment their security policies with the company’s Device Trust feature to ensure that only secure devices, such as those that are corporate managed or encrypted, can access Box.

Box Drive is available for Windows, MacOS and for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

It is available today in public beta and is free for all Box users. For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...