I use six different cloud storage services. It's wonderful, since I also use several devices for work, and I don't have to worry about which system I worked on.
But the not so wonderful part: figuring out where I - or an app - put a needed file. I'm not an enterprise, with multiple file servers, cloud storage and, perhaps, Slack, and files still get lost. If you're a busy corporate type, how you find anything?
Cloudtenna, a Silicon Valley startup, is launching DirectSearch, software that searches your local and network drives, cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box, and SaaS platforms like Slack, ShareFile, and Salesforce, with more on the way. Wherever it is, it'll find it.
Beyond that, like a search engine, DirectSearch uses machine learning intelligence, natural language processing, and automation to build smart results, based on previous behavior and other factors, to present the most relevant results. It's like Page Rank for your personal unstructured data. And you can also search by common metadata items such as date, name, size, keywords, senders, and more.
However, DirectSearch is about more than simple convenience for staffers. It can also aid in monitoring and protecting sensitive information.
After years of massive data breaches around the globe, data rules are tightening, and - pro tip - will continue to tighten for years to come. Financial, legal, and medical information is already regulated, and DirectSearch can locate regulated data that has been moved to less secure platforms. Other sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, can be flagged as well.
Cloudtenna just announced that DirectSearch will be commercially available in July. Citrix is one of their new investors, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Citrix offer DirectSearch as well, perhaps under another name, at some point. Cloudtenna is also looking for OEM deals, so you may someday find it bundled into other services.
The Storage Bits take
Two steps forward, one step back. Every advance creates new problems, and cloud storage is no exception.
Data silos, or islands, are as old as the day that an enterprise added a second database. And efforts to somehow connect those silos came the day after.
The need for products such as DirectSearch is obvious. The problem has always been developing a business model that makes sense for customers and the vendor, to fund the ongoing development required to build and maintain the connectors that make the magic happen.
Perhaps, someday, a truly standard interface across all cloud services, file systems, and network storage, will eliminate that need, but I doubt it. We need functionality like DirectSearch, and, like anything else, we'll have to figure out how to pay for it.
Courteous comments welcome, of course.