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.