Box bolsters cloud platform for better scaling, adds new pricing plan

Summary:As Box prepares for its Wall Street debut, the enterprise cloud company is tying up loose ends for developers too.

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SAN FRANCISCO---It's been a big week for Box, which officially pulled the trigger on a long-awaited initial public offering on Monday .

After months of announcements focused on leadership additions , bolstered products , and new target audiences , the Los Altos, Calif.-based company is also paying attention to the demographic that makes a lot of Box's enterprise cloud platform function : the developers.

Kicking off the first Box Dev Day, Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie explained that the event was set up to bring developers, engineers and customers together to brainstorm what the next generation of the enterprise will look like.

Acknowledging the spring rain outside of San Francisco's Fort Mason Center on Wednesday morning, Levie quipped in his usual jovial manner that the audience of a few hundred attendees must really love cloud computing.

Levie posited that thanks to the convergence of mobile and cloud enabling productivity from anywhere, we are on track to go from a world of "hierarchal systems" and roughly 650 million information workers to a networked model consisting of more than 1.3 billion information workers by next year.

"Everything about this new world is being optimized for startups and new vendors to replace the legacy IT stack," Levie asserted.

Chris Yeh, senior vice president of product and platform at Box, added later most CIOs are thinking about the fabric they plan to put in place over the next five years. 

This is fostering a global shift from operating as an industrial economy to a networked economy, Levie continued, warning that enterprise software just isn't catching up.

"Everything about this new world is being optimized for startups and new vendors to replace the legacy IT stack," Levie asserted. 

Outlining the next step for the Box platform, Levie promised more flexibility around deployment, enhanced context for buidling richer applications that go beyond just file sharing, and seamless document embedding and viewing.

In regards to the last point, Levie boasted that upgrade has never been done before by an enterprise cloud service -- at least not at the scale Box is touting.

Following Google's lead on Tuesday and Amazon Web Services on the other side of San Francisco on Wednesday, Box is changing up its price scheme as far as apps are concerned through the debut of Platform Pricing for "companies that need it," which Yeh then defined more simply as a pay-as-you-go style.

For individual third-party developers, a collective of 35,000 and counting, pricing won't change.

Box also introduced a new model for handling metadata, which includes integration of Box search into third-party apps as well as mobile SDK integrations for iOS and Android.

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Ryan Damico, director of platform at Box and founder of Crocodoc, focused on the technology powering these apps, especially those that concern documents and similar file types hosted on Box.

Box acquired Crocodoc last year for its HTML5 document embedding technology.

Damico unveiled Box View for the uploading, convertion, and viewing of documents and content stored "anywhere." Aimed more toward developers rather than front-end users, Box View entails a pricing structure of its own, ranging from free to $500 monthly for 25,000 API actions each month.

In addition to this standalone service, Box is also rolling out an open source viewer.js, which will be accessible via Box's repository on GitHub.

Emphasizing that the end goal for Box View is to make web-stored documents more interactive and enhanced, Damico described that Box View should also lead to "enterprise apps that blow people's socks off."

Images via Box

Topics: Cloud, Apps, Collaboration, Enterprise 2.0, Web development

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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