Amazon's Zocalo enterprise cloud storage opens for business

After almost two months on limited preview, AWS's Zocalo cloud storage service is now on general availability, stepping up competition for enterprise rivals.

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Amazon Web Services says its Zocalo business storage and sharing service is now generally available, with pricing that represents enterprise competition for rivals such as Google, Microsoft, Box, and Dropbox.

Amazon's Zocalo, which along with security features also offers admin controls and user feedback functions, is free for a 30-day trial of 200GB of storage per user for up to 50 users. After the trial, firms pay $5 per user per month, with incremental costs for storage above 200GB.

Describing the service, AWS said Zocalo allows users to comment on files, send them to others for feedback, and upload new versions without having to email multiple versions as attachments.

IT administrators can also integrate Zocalo — zócalo is Spanish for town square — with existing corporate directories, flexible sharing policies, audit logs, and control of the location where data is stored, the company said.

Amazon Zocalo gives users a central location for files they are reviewing and for which they are asking feedback. A sync client can automatically upload files from users' computers to Zocalo over an encrypted connection and sync them across their other devices.

Competition in cloud storage is fierce. For example, this week Dropbox cut storage costs with $9.99 for 1TB for its Pro plan. In April Google brought its Drive pricing down to $1.99 for 100GB from $4.99, while Microsoft increased OneDrive for Business default storage from 25GB to 1TB per user.

As part of moving Zocalo to general availability, having been available as a limited preview since early July, AWS also said its web service CloudTrail which records AWS API calls for accounts and delivers log files, now records calls made to the Zocalo API.

"This API is currently internal, but we plan to expose it in the future," AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blogpost.

AWS already offers consumers cloud-based storage in the form of Amazon Cloud Drive, which was announced in March 2011.

The company said WorkSpaces users will receive access to Amazon Zocalo for no additional charge, with 50GB available per WorkSpaces user. For an extra $2 per user per month, this storage can be upgraded to 200GB.

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