HugeDrive Jumps Into Cloud Storage

ThirdRail Holdings unveils storage service, but faces challenges in a crowded market

May 4, 2009

3 Min Read
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A company called ThirdRail Holdings has begun offering, an online storage service aimed at consumer and businesses, which it claims will challenge offerings from technology giants Google and Amazon.

This is not, however, ThirdRail's first foray into the online market. HugeDrive joins a family of online services from the vendor, including blogging (BlogMas), email (HugeMail), Web hosting (HugeWire), Web monitoring (httpVision), and others.

HugeDrive offers three tiers of service: a free service that offers access for two users and 500 MBytes of disk storage, a professional service for $9.99 a month that includes up to 10 users and 10 GBytes of storage, and an enterprise service for $29.99 a month that includes up to 1,000 users and 25 GBytes of storage.

The challenge for HugeDrive is to differentiate itself from the dozens of competitors offering nearly identical online storage services. "It is a very, very crowded space, a very, very competitive space," says Greg Schulz, founder of StorageIO, an analysis and consulting firm. "You've got giants already established in the market like Google, Amazon, HP, Dell, IBM, AT&T. Even the banks have gotten into it. Wells Fargo offers a managed storage service."

Adam Wills, president of ThirdRail Holdings, says HugeDrive will stand out from the pack because it provides customers with an easy-to-use Web interface that "even your grandmother can use." All the applications are run via a Web browser and no special software is needed, he says.HugeDrive will appeal to business users as an online file management service that offers enterprise-quality document management, document recovery, and document version control, Wills says. "If you're an individual business or small office or even a large office, you can add and remove staff members, control who has access to what files, set up user names and passwords, or leave things wide open so you can publish content to your customers or members or employees," he says.

Another key feature, Wills says, is "online file sharing widgets" that customers can place on a Website or blog and works as a file distribution service. "You can store your content on HugeDrive, put the widget on your Web page, and distribute files and documents that way. We take care of everything."

Potential business customers may be leery, however, of handing over their data to a relatively unknown company, especially in light of recent problems with online storage services. Businesses are "not going to trust their important data to a free or cheap service," says analyst Schulz.

For example, Amazon Web Service's Simple Storage Service (S3) was unavailable for around eight hours for a day in July, and users couldn't connect and use the data and files stored on the service. Some online storage services have gone out of business, leaving customers stranded and their data in limbo. A service called The Linkup shut its doors on Aug. 8, and customers complained that they were unable to gain access to the files and data they had stored with the service.

HugeDrive is hosted on a cluster of servers in a single data center in Albany, N.Y., and has multiple high-bandwidth connections to the Internet. "We been doing this for years, and we haven't have an outage in three years," Wills says. "We have spare servers in reserve and can add capacity quickly."Still, Schulz says, most businesses "are not going to put their important data on a free or cheap service."

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  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • Amazon Web Services LLC

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)

  • Wells Fargo & Company

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