Box turns the Web outside-in

Instead of speeding content to users, Box Accelerator is a 'reverse-CDN', speeding user content back to Box.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

Although the Internet was originally conceived as a network of peers, the Web has evolved into much more of a hub-and-spoke architecture, in which all the emphasis is on delivering content outwards to end users. That's fine for conventional websites and larger content-centric businesses like Google, Yahoo! or Amazon, but it presents a problem for a collaboration platform like Box, whose users originate and upload their own content.

Today's announcement of Box Accelerator, therefore, is not a content delivery network in the classic sense. It's more of a 'reverse-CDN' that will speed uploads by users from around the globe to deliver their files to its West coast data center — up to ten times faster for users in far-flung locations in Asia and Europe, and, according to independent research commissioned by the company noticeably faster everywhere compared to rival cloud file platforms.

Box has built the Accelerator network by distributing its proprietary appliances to nine separate endpoints around the globe. Their role is to route upload traffic on a fast track direct to Box's California data center, rather than relying on routine Internet routing. Box is acting just like Google and other large cloud providers that have optimized their own Internet presence to maintain high performance for their users — but optimizing the upload experience is an inside-out departure from the norm. In that context, making Accelerator available to its developer ecosystem looks like a smart move, as it will serve a hitherto unmet need.

The other point to make here is that Box has not only bested its cloud storage rivals. It has also delivered an upload performance that only a handful of enterprises could compete with on their own internal infrastructure. Any enterprise that has workers or contractors accessing and uploading files from remote locations or on-the-road faces the same challenge of Internet upload performance. Very few could cost-justify building as an in-house solution the same capability that Box has implemented. Because Box is a cloud solution, that capability is now available free-of-charge to all its customers, of whatever size.

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