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Box.net Expands Capacity And Services

Box.net, a cloud-based service that lets users exchange content from all over the world, has increased the size of the storage allotment for its users. These increases include going from 1 gigabyte to 5 GB for its free personal user service; tripling storage to 500 GB for its Business users; and unlimited storage for its Enterprise users. People use the service for files that would typically be too large to send through email. It is easier to use than a File Transfer Protocol server, but also gives access to data to people outside an organization's firewall, such as contributors, consultants, and customers.

Jason Currell, information systems manager for the Nettwerk Music Group in Vancouver, says he was looking forward to the new storage limits because his organization is currently nearing its limit and is using almost a terabyte of storage. The company produces and sells music around the world, and uses the Box service to share files such as MP3s, .wav files, videos, artist bios, and photos all over the world, he says. Previously, Nettwerk had the material on a file server, but not everyone had access to the server and its speed often wasn't very good, he says. With Box, sharing 50- and 100-mb files is much easier than with the file server, he says.

In addition to increased storage limits, Box Is working on several other areas that will be announced over the next quarter. For example, the company is improving its support of mobile devices. There are already applications for the Apple iPad and iPhone, as well as for Google's Android, which in the future will offer improved functionality. Other areas of future development include improved search functionality, additional workflow features, and improved integration with Salesforce.com and Google Documents.

"The move by Box could make their offering far more strategic to many organizations," says Rob Koplowitz, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., consultancy. "Box used to solve a problem of organizations sharing content across organizational boundaries. They morphed to a much richer collaborative environment that was particularly interesting to small businesses and departments in larger enterprises. With the latest announcement, they take storage cost off the table and become a real alternative to on-premises storage of mass content."

The increased storage limits have been implemented for new users, and will be rolled out to existing customers within a couple of weeks. In comparison, Microsoft SharePoint Online gives users 250 MB each, Google Docs provides 1 GB per user, and Salesforce.com provides 600 MB per user. The company currently has an aggregated petabyte of data, plus some hybrid work with Amazon Web Services.  

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