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June 14, 2017

Box Drive puts a new cloud face on the legacy shared drive

Company aims to take away the painful choice between cloud and legacy applications.

By James Nunns

Box has added a new collaboration tool to its armoury that gives customers the comforting feel of traditional network shared drives but with all the benefits of the cloud.

Box Drive is a desktop application but one that stores all files in Box and allows users to create, edit, find, and share, without leaving the desktop.

Data is secured in the traditional Box way but it works much like a shared drive on a desktop with files provided through streamed access.

David Benjamin, SVP and GM at Box EMEA, told CBR: “Box drive is the only unlimited cloud drive, built exclusively for enterprises. Box Drive provides all the functionality of Box products on the desktop. The reason we provided that capability is that we see customers want to access their files and collaborate but sometimes want to use traditional look and feel of a shared drive.”

Benjamin said that the product presents all the files that the customer has in Box in a simple shared drive, “we only download those files on-demand and they get downloaded in real-time whilst the rest sits in a virtual format.”

Box Drive

The purpose of this is to reduce the amount of bandwidth being taken up by the files as they are accessed.

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Users are able to specify where the data sits and due to its partnership with IBM this means that customers can base the data centre choice on region, for example, an IBM data centre in London or a secondary one in Frankfurt.

Read more: Box & IBM to open new UK data centre cloud storage Box Zone

The product is free to Box customers and is now available in public beta, however, whilst it is free for Box customers users will still be charged by the company that has the data in its data centre.

The thinking behind the product is to essentially take away the hard decision of whether they move wholesale to the cloud, which would displace many desktop legacy workloads, or whether they stick with their incumbent technology.

Benjamin said: “It’s a hell of a choice, so instead of making a choice of one of those they tend to have a foot in both camps.”

Box Drive uses a file finder interface that is natively integrated into Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, which means that users just have to open their Box Drive folder in order to gain access to their content.

With BYOD and remote working becoming more common there’s the odd occasion that users will be in an area with no Wi-Fi and poor network connectivity. Fear not because Box has this covered. Benjamin said that customers are able to mark documents to be available offline, work on them offline and as soon as they go back online the changes are applied and shared.

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