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Apps World North America Round-up

We hope we had the opportunity to chat with you at last week’s Apps World Conference in San Francisco. In case we missed you, we wanted to share with you our highlights of the two-day show:

1 – Great Vendors, like Bitcasa (insert smiley face)

2 – Tech celebrities: Check out our cool pic of Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone as he promoted his new social app, Super!

3 – Game corner, complete with its own neon ping pong table.

And indeed a great conference it was, as more than 11,000 attendees arrived at the Moscone Center in San Francisco during the event on May 12 and 13. People came from around the world to share their new app or product or to just learn more about exhibitors.

IMG_1204 copy bizstone pingpong copy

Talking to all the developers and entrepreneurs who came by to chat made us reminisce about the early days when Bitcasa was just starting out. Back then, we learned as we grew and built our cloud storage API infrastructure from scratch. We had no choice, as our approach to end-to-end encryption, data deduplication and virtualization of the drive was unlike anything that existed before it.

It was fun to share our story with attendees and hear about their storage needs and where we can fit in. What have we learned from the event and from exchanging ideas with all the visitors who came by? The App Economy has come a long way, especially with the proliferation of mobile. Businesses of all types, from publishers to retailers to enterprise are launching apps faster than ever and the key to this is the availability of public APIs. Unlike the early days of Bitcasa, app developers now have plenty of public APIs to leverage from. Of the hundreds of questions that were asked of us, we ask one in return: Why reinvent the wheel? When it comes down to a developer wishing to utilize cloud storage, they either have to build it themselves (cumbersome and time consuming) or leverage third-party cloud storage APIs from Box, Dropbox and Bitcasa.

booth copy

Over the years, Bitcasa has grown to manage 40 petabytes of data in 140 countries. And all that knowledge and experience can be leveraged through CloudFS. Like this CodeProject article beautifully articulates, building a fully functional cloud file storage system on your own at scale would take away an enormous amount of time and effort. Not to mention having to manage that system later on. Why not spend time focusing on your app’s specific business functionality instead?

If this article has convinced you to try out our CloudFS API or if you simply want to learn more, please visit our product page CloudFS, sign up for a free developer account, and/or reach out to the friendly folks at Bitcasa.

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May 21 2015

Bitcasa News, Cloud storage, CloudFS, Developer

When Sync is Simply Not Enough

Yesterday’s announcement from Box about the pending launch of their Developer Edition validated a big part of Bitcasa’s philosophy – that storage should be a seamless part of any application’s UX as opposed to handed off to a 3rd party. We believe they are making a great move that will benefit thousands of developers and their enterprise customers.

However, it does not solve the growing problem for the device economy: the battle for local storage space. As the amount of content creation continues to explode, access speeds increase, and IoT devices take hold, local storage has become a bottleneck for consumers that cannot be fixed by local sync solutions such as Box and Dropbox. The reason is that these solutions do not open up space on any single device – they actually take up more space across devices.

For device manufacturers, network operators, and software developers solving for the bottleneck requires a virtual drive that uses the cloud as primary storage, while providing instant access across devices. Bitcasa was built as a virtual drive from the beginning, which provides the ability to do system-level integration. This means cloud storage can be native to the OS, part of a device’s settings menu, and compliant with existing apps.

Over time, we believe users will not even have the notion of cloud versus local storage – they will just have access to their files – with storage allocation and optimization being handled behind the scenes. This is a future that we can already deliver through both partner branded apps and our CloudFS APIs.

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Apr 23 2015

Cloud storage, CloudFS, Turn-key Drive

A Tale of Two File Systems: Bitcasa CloudFS and AWS EFS

We had a great time participating in the partner expo at the AWS Summit in San Francisco on April 9. Many conference attendees, including entrepreneurs and developers visited our booth to learn more about CloudFS and how drastically it simplifies integrating cloud storage into apps and devices. Freshly announced during the summit was also the soon-to-be launched AWS Elastic File System (EFS). Many developers immediately stopped by the Bitcasa booth to find out what separates Bitcasa’s CloudFS from AWS EFS.

First of all, what exactly is EFS and how is it different from AWS’ two current storage services, Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and S3? EBS is block storage that is mounted to only a single AWS Elastic Compute (EC2) instance within a virtual private cloud environment. S3 is an object store that works over HTTP and accessible via Internet. In contrast, EFS is a File System. It supports standard file system protocols (Nsf4), and unlike EBS can mount to multiple EC2 instances. But like EBS, connections only happen inside Amazon’s virtual private cloud. It becomes apparent that EFS is intended as a high performance, behind-the-firewall NFS (Network File System) for uses such as server-side content repositories and big-data home directories.

Bitcasa’s CloudFS is intended for vastly different purposes. CloudFS is HTTP-based and is built for developers. Its main intent is to extend applications’ functionality by integrating cloud storage into them. The powerful APIs abstract a file system and make it easy for apps and devices from anywhere to create, access and manage personal file systems in the cloud.

Readers will be quick to point out that similar functionality already exists through APIs from other cloud storage providers, namely Dropbox. Not so fast, we say, as in order to use those services, your users are first directed to the storage provider’s cloud platform for authentication. Furthermore, users must already have pre-existing accounts with the cloud storage service. The 3rd party cloud storage provider’s brand stays front and center during the process, and there is a clear separation between your application and the cloud storage service.

The above need not always be the case. With Bitcasa’s CloudFS, you can create a user storage account with one API call, do it behind the scenes, and make it happen on the end-user’s behalf. Bitcasa’s philosophy is that you own your end-user records. And because you have ownership, your apps also access the cloud storage account on your end-user’s behalf. No redirection to a 3rd party service is ever required. From the user’s perspective, they only authenticate one time through your service. We call this transparent authentication. We believe that cloud storage functionality should feel seamlessly integrated with the rest of your application rather than like an add-on appliance from a 3rd party service. For emphasis, we’d like to drive the point home by saying, “Own your users. Own your UX. Don’t give up your brand!”

Amazon’s important new offering validates the current market trend towards public cloud services and the ever increasing demand for storage. As this IDC research shows, the digital universe will grow 10x to over 44 trillion GB by 2020. Expand that idea to the Internet of Things where consumer digital devices and apps play in a world of shared content. That’s where CloudFS can fill a need and provide a vital role.

For more information, please visit our CloudFS product page and sign up for a free developer account to test-drive the power and simplicity of the APIs and seamlessly extend your application into the cloud.

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Apr 21 2015

Bitcasa News, Bitcasa Tech, Cloud storage, CloudFS, Events

ChallengePost Hackathon Winner: In My Diary

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.43.06 AM‘In My Diary’ is a powerful, easy to use and comprehensive organizational communication solution used by schools, clubs, sports, and other community organizations.

Building this new app required the developers to look for a variety of solutions to several issues they faced, including storage. Since In My Diary maintains redundant servers, they needed servers to have instant access to all saved documents, newsletters, forms and notes. Saving uploaded files to the local server’s hard drive would not achieve the required redundancy across multiple servers.

As the subscriber base of In My Diary grows, additional servers will be introduced to distribute the load. These new servers will need instant access to the stored documents on the cloud storage.

Also, newsletters and notes uploaded through the web interface needed to be instantly available to users through the app.

The developers from In My Diary found their cloud storage solution at Bitcasa. With Bitcasa, accessing documents from the app has no impact on In My Diary servers since documents are accessed directly from Bitcasa cloud storage through the app, freeing up more resources on In My Diary for the Web administration and the app API.

Bitcasa and other independent providers offered all of the components need by the app, including cloud storage, mass emailing, push notification and cloud DNS. They considered AWS for all of these needs, but found that by carefully selecting providers like Bitcasa they achieve competitive prices with better tools and support for their solution.

“Bitcasa offers a range of tools, documentation with sample code and support to get started with their CloudFS API,” said Jonathan Staskun, Technical Director at In My Diary. “We found it quick and easy to implement CloudFS using their REST API for our web-based interface. Implementing CloudFS into both the iOS and Android versions of our In My Diary app were equally quick and easy.”

Jonathan said Bitcasa’s CloundFS API offers good functionality allowing them to control all files and documents from code level, which allowed them to tightly integrate CloudFS into their solution. He said they found response time between their servers and CloudFS to be very good, with excellent security with the use of tokens.

The app is running well and is offering a new option for organizations to stay in touch with their members. Through an intuitive and responsive administration website which drives the In My Diary app, organizations can effectively present all forms of electronic communication to their members, including calendar events, messaging through push notifications, newsletters, forms, and a blog. The way information is presented in the app reflects how and when users accesses the various types of organizational information.

The app is available for free download on iOS, Android, and web application. In My Diary is deeply integrated with Mobile Apps.

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Apr 20 2015

Bitcasa News, CloudFS, Developer

Watch CloudFS in Action

Check out our new video to learn how CloudFS can simplify and solve your cloud storage needs.

See how CloudFS combines all standard AWS API calls into one easy-to-use service.

Apr 06 2015

Cloud storage, CloudFS, Developer, Questions and tips Video

Cloud Sync: A New (and Better) Approach to Storage

From day one here at Bitcasa, a key differentiator for our product line has been our philosophy on “sync”. Most notably, we don’t think you should have to “sync” your files at all.

First, let’s define what we mean by “sync”. At Bitcasa, at any meeting where we discuss “sync”, we always clarify if we mean “local-sync” or “cloud-sync”. There are important distinctions between the two which dictate very different product experiences. When we talk about “local-sync” we mean the type of sync where your files reside BOTH on your device(s) and in the cloud. Almost all of the “cloud 1.0” competitors out there really offer only “local-sync” products – they simply use the cloud to copy your files to all your devices (techies: think rsync). Is this really getting the most from “the cloud”? Another alternative is “cloud-sync”, where the cloud is used as primary storage and content is streamed from the cloud to any device (techies: think NFS).

Astute readers will recognize that local-sync is okay for some use cases, but not great for many other use cases. For instance, what if I have too much stuff to fit on my 128GB Macbook Pro? Where do I put all that stuff? A “local-sync” sync solution won’t solve this problem, since I’ve run out of local space on my device. And this problem is only getting worse as we generate thousands and thousands of pictures and videos, download more and more applications, and save ever-increasing amounts of music and video libraries that eat up our hard drive space quickly. Seems that sync solutions really aren’t harnessing the power of “the cloud”.

Space Gap

The Bitcasa storage platform is different. Welcome to cloud 2.0, welcome to cloud-sync! From day one, we’ve believed strongly in the need for lots of primary storage in the cloud. Instead of copying your files to all your devices — thus propagating your storage shortage to all your devices — Bitcasa uses a store-once, stream-everywhere philosophy. Store your files in the cloud, and read from any device, any time. But wait… isn’t that slow? Great question, astute reader! We’ve spent the better part of 3 years making our upload, download and streaming speeds as fast as possible. And of course, propagation of super-fast high-speed internet and 4G wireless has made the network incredibly fast.

Well, what happens if I don’t have the internet? Another great question. This is where the Bitcasa magic begins (admittedly, it isn’t all magic…). Bitcasa takes up a bit of the local hard drive with a “cache” that stores recently uploaded and accessed files, currently streaming movies, and documents you are in the process of editing. This makes access feel like it were local, and buffers any ups and downs in your internet connectivity.

Our white-labeled Turn-Key applications for device manufacturers, OEMs, and mobile carriers, as well as our personal Bitcasa Drive solutions all offer primary storage apps — extending the capacity of a user’s device. We really believe this is the future of personal cloud storage.

To learn more about Bitcasa, come visit us on Thursday, April 9th at the AWS Summit at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Stop by booth 326 to talk with our cloud storage experts. And while you’re there, enter to win a GoPro Hero3+.

Apr 02 2015

Bitcasa Tech, Cloud storage, Questions and tips, Turn-key Drive

Cloud Chronicles: Wellsprings of Knowledge

This week, we’re all about sharing the love. If you missed it, check out our 10 Things Developers Love blog post. In the same vein, we believe in freely sharing expertise and developer-centric knowledge. As such, we’ve pulled together wisdom from across the web to enrich your week. Enjoy!

  • Looking for opportunities outside of Silicon Valley? Check out Austin, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago and Miami – http://onforb.es/1vI0
  • Here are some of the things companies are doing to attract and retain your kind – http://tnw.co/1Fv9ff9
  • In search of developer wisdom? Check out these programmer proverbs – http://bit.ly/179ALDy
  • Still seeking wisdom? We’ve got you covered with 20 things a programmer should know – http://bit.ly/1CPYc08
  • TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr asked if an app can really make you fall in love with anyone? Maybe so… – http://ow.ly/J1Obu

In other cloud news:

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Feb 13 2015

Bitcasa News, Cloud Chronicles

10 Things Developers Love

Love is in the air! With Valentine’s Day looming, many conversations about romantic getaways, fancy dinner outings and overindulging in chocolate can be overheard in the office. At Bitcasa, we want to show some love too. With our Valentine’s Day spirit sky high, we asked around our developer friends and put together a list of things developers love. Enjoy!

  • 1. That feeling after a successful deployment
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  • 2. The power to say I love you in different languages
  • 3. The ability to work from anywhere
  • 4. The response to this Facebook status
  • 5. The starting salary at your first job out of college
  • 6. That magical elixir called beer
  • 7. That overwhelmingly happy feeling seeing your first program work
  • 8. When others try and speak to you in your own language
  • 9. The definition of a “programmer” in the urban dictionary
  • 10. And Dilbert
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Feb 11 2015

Bitcasa News

Cloud Chronicles: Keep It Simple

This week, we saw a number of publications break down the most effective ways to design mobile apps and APIs, highlighting simplicity as key to app/API adoption. Check out these, and a number of others articles we shared via the @Bitcasa twitter profile this week. Enjoy!  
  • Our friends over at ProgrammableWeb noted that if you’re looking for wide adoption, less is more when it comes to designing an API.
  • A Medium contributor showed us how Facebook’s simple and intuitive API “taught us all how to build websites”.
  • The Economic Times discussed seven things mobile app developers should focus on. The key takeaways: focus on UI and – you guessed it – keep it simple.
  • WhaTech showed us that with some simple web development tricks, you can boost your brand engagement ratio. You don’t over complicate everything!
  • First Post identified the application security trends for 2015. Alleviating the risks in cloud storage and exploiting logical flaws were two of their top trends.
  • Our VP of Product Luke Behnke will be at DeveloperWeek in SF next week to discuss the Developer’s Dilemma. If you’ll be around, be sure to come by!
  In other cloud news:
  • Dropbox has a new button that launches desktop applications right from the web.
  • Amazon announced that one million customers actively use its cloud services.
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Feb 06 2015

Bitcasa News

The DevCasa Challenge is Now Open

Got an idea for app? Need an excuse to develop it? We’re putting up $3,000 in prize money to help persuade you to turn that concept into reality.

Bitcasa and our friends at ChallengePost are hosting the DevCasa Challenge, which will run until March 24th.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to add cloud storage to a current app or create a new one by using Bitcasa CloudFS.

What is Bitcasa CloudFS? It’s our set of APIs that make it quick and easy to integrate secure, and accessible cloud storage with your application. But unlike those other cloud storage moguls, CloudFS give you control over the UX and user data. It’s your customers, your cloud, and your data.

You’ll need to create (or have created) a working software application that utilizes Bitcasa CloudFS via the free prototyping account. We’re judging your submissions based on the following criteria: quality, implementation, and depth of integration with our CloudFS APIs.

The competition is now open for submission and closes on March 24, 2015 so don’t miss out.

Accept the DevCasa challenge and register here: http://devcasa.challengepost.com/

Ready, set, hack!

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Feb 04 2015

Bitcasa News