Citrix links cloud-based storage to SharePoint and Azure

ShareFile users are getting more options for where and how to store data

Citrix Systems is making its cloud-based storage service ShareFile more Microsoft-friendly with SharePoint integration and the ability to store data on Azure.

Services for storing and sharing content in the cloud started in the consumer sector, but more enterprises are now adopting rather than blocking them. Citrix saw this trend coming and acquired ShareFile back in October 2011; it announced the latest round of updates Wednesday at the Synergy user conference.

Two of the updates are related to where and how ShareFile stores data. The service lets enterprises choose between storing user data in their own data centers; in data centers managed by Citrix; or using existing file storage systems, according to Bill Carovano, senior director of product management for Citrix's ShareFile products.

Using existing systems is made possible via what Citrix calls StorageZone Connectors. The company has supported traditional network shares, but is now adding integration with SharePoint, according to Carovano. With the ShareFile app users can, for example, find a file on their iPad in the SharePoint document library, open it up, make changes and then check it back in again.

"There is already a lot of data in systems like Microsoft's SharePoint, and customers want to enable mobile productivity without having to move that data," Carovano said.

Citrix is also adding the ability to manage data on behalf of its customers using Microsoft's Azure. Until now, the company has only used Amazon's cloud.

"With Windows Azure we get some additional points of presence ... we get one in continental Europe, which has been requested by some of our European customers. The other additional coverage we get is continental U.S., which is important for performance reasons, and mainland China is also very interesting," Carovano said.

The company is also hoping ShareFile will get a boost from Microsoft.

"Microsoft has a huge sales force, and a great relationship with enterprise IT, and that is something Amazon quite frankly lacks," Carovano said.

Citrix is also integrating ShareFile with its own XenMobile device management platform, which lets the IT department secure and control enterprise data on mobile devices by using ShareFile as the common storage platform across Citrix's products.

"If you are using our mail app on an iPhone you can go ahead and attach a file from your ShareFile account from within the app," Carovano said.

The new products will be demonstrated at Citrix Synergy, which takes place this week in Los Angeles.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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