After taking the beta tag off Sync in March, BitTorrent today released a big update to its Sync API. At the same time, the company has partnered with Onehub to bring Sync features into the enterprise market.
BitTorrent introduced the Sync API in November 2013 to let developers leverage the BitTorrent Sync engine in their apps. The company said it has now distributed over 6,000 keys to developers interested in building on top of Sync (that’s up from 4,300 keys in August).
Developers can control the Sync engine to replicate files or add file sync capabilities to existing apps. The new version of the API being released today is RESTful and enables full access to the entire Sync feature set. In fact, BitTorrent says it has tripled the number of API calls from 14 to 42.
Here is what the new API lets developers do:
- Sync Integration: Integrate Sync functionality into applications by embedding the engine and controlling it with the API.
- Manage Workflows: Sync can handle when another app completes a task and trigger other apps.
- Build Custom Reporting: Generate custom reports to consolidate Sync status across multiple devices, send notifications when files arrive to a device, and create alerts when devices are not available.
- Automate Sync Functions: Since almost all of the features of Sync are available through the API, the app can be automated to behave how you need it to, when you need it to.
The API will be delivered with BitTorrent Sync 2.1, which is also launching today. Erik Pounds, BitTorrent Sync’s VP of product management, told VentureBeat this new version doesn’t have any new features for users — it’s merely being updated so the API can properly expose all of Sync’s functionalities. That said, BitTorrent promised that the API will now stay up-to-date with new Sync features.
The Sync API will continue to have free and paid versions. The free API is for personal usage in a non-business environment (developers and IT administrators can test Sync integration with their existing tools in preparation of roll-out to a production environment). The paid API caters to the needs of those looking to use it within a live business environment, including a more robust feature set and developer support.
BitTorrent has partnered with Onehub, which offers online file storage and sharing for companies (major customers include Starbucks, Dell, and Philips), to beef up their enterprise sync-and-share solution. Not only does BitTorrent Sync make Onehub Sync faster, but the enterprise tool is now also more efficient for very large deployments.
BitTorrent said Sync is “ideal for organizations with hundreds of people, or individual workgroups,” but large enterprise deployments often have more specific business needs (such as more granular permission settings or certain activity tracking features). This is why Onehub is the company’s first enterprise app partner.
Onehub has been testing the beta of its new syncing product with customers for months. The official launch today brings the following:
- Speed: When file changes are made, Onehub Sync immediately updates all of your collaborators. It will choose the fastest route (whether that is directly through a local network or via the cloud) and since only new changes are synced as opposed to entire files, syncing time has decreased substantially.
- Scale: Onehub Sync grows with your organization. As data is stored locally, you avoid any situation where many workgroups are trying to pull down the same file from the cloud at the same time. And, as you add more devices to the syncing network, the faster the sync becomes.
- Reliability: When you open Onehub Sync, it automatically begins updating files with the latest version from your collaborators. Since all collaborators are kept current, you will always have multiple sources to access the latest files from. The Onehub peer ensures users always have a peer to receive the latest updates.
- Security: Onehub provides bank-level encryption for all your data and file transmission between peers is always encrypted. Onehub also provides activity tracking to monitor who has accessed files, as well as role-based permissions to control who can access your data.
The most interesting part is that Onehub’s tool relies on the cloud (they call it a hybrid “peer-to-peer+one” approach). The pitch is simple: scalability and consistency required by the enterprise is achieved by syncing directly between peers while still having Onehub as a persistent peer that is always available in the cloud.
We asked BitTorrent what the team thought of this, given the company’s pitch for Sync. BitTorrent regularly emphasizes that Sync doesn’t use the cloud, which makes it a much faster and more secure file sharing tool.
“Their solution has features that require the cloud, like being able to view a document without being able to sync it,” Pounds told VentureBeat. “That’s a good use for the cloud. At BitTorrent, we are building a file synchronization product. To sync files between two or more devices, cloud storage is a costly and inefficient component, so we do not use it. The Onehub Sync solution is able to take advantage of this to quickly sync files between devices, while also quickly getting them up to their cloud.”
In other words, BitTorrent admits there are scenarios where the cloud makes sense, and while the company is not straying from its core product, it’s happy to partner where it makes sense to do so.
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