EntropySoft introduces appliance

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Also posted on: The IM Blog

Avid readers will remember that I have written about EntropySoft a couple of times over the last two years. It is a specialist provider of content connectors, providing normalised access to content repositories. The connectors are optimised for particular purposes, for example Search, e-Discovery or Data Loss Prevention. The company also offers two broader products known respectively as Content Hub and Content ETL. The former provides a central point of access for all documents and is intended to simplify the integration of business applications and content repositories. The latter is used to organise, plan and do document transfers.

Since I last wrote about the company it has extended the number of its connectors to 40, most notably adding cloud-based connectors for Iron Mountain, Google Apps and SalesForce.com. There will be more such in due course. Other new connectors are Symantec Enterprise Vault, Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010.

The company has also extended its Content Hub and Content ETL capabilities. Most notably, the software can now track repository changes (document creation, deletion and modification) as they happen so that you can manage your document processes in real-time. In addition, the company will shortly be introducing synchronisation capabilities within its Content ETL product. This will allow you to keep documents synchronised across either heterogeneous (for example, SharePoint to Documentum) or homogeneous (SharePoint to SharePoint) repositories. And this will apply both in-house and, say, between suppliers and clients. Further, it will also allow document sharing between in-house and cloud-based environments.

This is neat. Moreover (and this is the main reason why I am writing this article), the company has just announced the introduction of an EntropySoft Appliance. This includes the company’s entire product stack and it is available either as a physical or virtual appliance. This appliance is aimed specifically at providing high performing pre-packaged services for functions such as synchronisation or digital archiving process. Repository synchronisation in particular is not only a major issue for many companies, as far as I am aware this is the first such product to be made available to resolve this issue, so it represents an important step forward. The appliance itself is available via a monthly subscription based on a pay-as-you-go model so it offers content integration for companies of all sizes.

Leaving aside its products for a moment, it has been interesting to watch the evolution of EntropySoft, in terms of its marketing. It initially went to market to get business wherever it could – a reasonable enough strategy – regardless of whether this was with end users or partners. It then turned its attention particularly to partner channels and as a result it has a very significant partner community, with its products widely embedded within other vendor’s products. Symantec, EMC Kazeon, Endeca and IDS Scheer are all notable partners in this category. The second set of partners that the company works with are what it calls service partners, which do all relevant migrations and provide professional services for EntropySoft products.

The EntropySoft Appliance solves a real business need for which there is pent-up demand. Providers of cloud-based services will certainly be interested in distributing the appliance to their customers. Indeed, I expect there to be a significant OEM market for the appliance. That’s fine: EntropySoft is well-placed to capitalise on this demand. On the other hand, I also expect that many organisations will ask for synchronisation capabilities internally (in some cases with very specific requirements). This does pose a potential problem. I suspect that EntropySoft may need more service partners or will need to increase its own in-house direct sales capabilities with the release of its appliance. The company has said that it is opening a US operation and that it is actively recruiting partners to distribute the appliance. EntropySoft will need to ensure that it has sufficient resources, either internally or via service partners, to meet the demand that is likely to arise.