Egnyte: hybrid cloud is the perfect balance between local iron and total cloud

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Along with our friends at The Next Web and Trend Hunter, we’re excited to kick off a cool new consultation series. Here’s how it works: Each of the three sites has picked a company that’s effectively utilizing new technologies to get them ahead in their space. We’ll introduce our choices and then do a consultation article on each of the companies, chiming in with any new ideas, tips, or advice on how they can further leverage new and cool technology

We chose Egnyte, a company that provides simple, scalable, and secure cloud storage for the enterprise.

Cloud is all the rage in enterprise … so much so that Juniper predicts mobile cloud revenues alone of $39 billion by 2016. But with new file sharing and application management strategies come new management and oversight concerns.

That’s where Egnyte chief executive Vineet Jain thinks that his company has the cloud technology edge for enterprise. VentureBeat spoke to Jain about cloud adoption in business.

“The public clouds have been great for consumer adoption and maybe even small business,” says Jain. “But enterprises need to go hybrid, which allows you to access your files on any device on the road and access files in the office with the very same controls.”

Engyte, whose customers share over a billion files daily, treat the cloud as a peer to the tradition file servers in the physical office … not as a master or slave. That means that files are available everywhere, as with other cloud technologies, but also that the exact same protocols that an IT manager might apply currently to control access and privileges still work — and are propagated to both the cloud and local storage.

“We don’t want to get into the hardware game,” Jain says. “Rather, you deploy our software on top of your local hardware and then decide what of your info gets replicated onto the cloud.”

The administrator simply manages the account, setting permissions and creating folders, while all the topology is taken care of by the software. Egnyte integrates with Active Directory as well, making it easy for those using Microsoft technologies to continue working in familiar ways while enabling easier file sharing as well as mobile file access on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry for remote workers.

Most mid-size to large clients, says Jain, choose the hybrid model once they see the benefits, even when they start out wanting a pure cloud solution.

“When we sign anyone with 50 seats or higher,” Jain told VentureBeat, “six to seven out of 10 want to go hybrid.”

Jain believes that means that the mid-market and larger companies are cutting through the pure cloud hype and choosing solutions that match both their needs and their current realities.

One question that came up at a recent MobileBeat 2012 session: How do you integrate multiple cloud technologies — for example, if you’re using a cloud file storage and sharing tool and business applications in the cloud?

That requires API-level integration work, says Jain:

“We are very selectively integrating with other clouds and apps — for example SalesForce. That means that within the SalesForce interface you can manage your files and apply permissions.”

The files are still in the Egnyte cloud, but IT personnel can manage them from within SalesForce. Egnyte integrates with other cloud technologies as well — the company is talking to Jive, for instance — but only integrates where users have requested the connection.

Egnyte was founded in 2006 and has raised about $16 million in capital from Kleiner Perkins, Floodgate, and Polaris. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Image credit: Triff/ShutterStock