On Monday, May 2, data protection company Datto announced Datto Drive, a file sync and share (FSS) service targeting SMBs. The goal of Datto Drive is to disrupt the market for FSS services among smaller companies by providing a cheaper alternative to incumbents like Box, Dropbox, Citrix, Google, and Microsoft.

“Current file sync and share services are overpriced solutions for small businesses,” said Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto. “Anyone who’s paying hundreds or thousands of dollars every month for FSS will immediately see Datto Drive as a welcome alternative.”

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy Template (Tech Pro Research)

For those unfamiliar, FSS, also known as EFSS (enterprise file sync-and-share), is a service that allows users to access stored files on multiple devices. The need for FSS services has grown in tandem with cloud adoption, but Datto believes that most vendors are missing the mark with SMB customers as they tend to target large enterprises.

In a press release announcing Datto Drive, the company pointed to the prevalence of freemium models as evidence that the majority of FSS vendors aren’t properly addressing the needs of SMBs and MSPs (managed services providers).

Datto Drive is based on the company’s 200 petabyte private cloud and a global license agreement with open source FSS platform ownCloud, which Datto Drive is built on. Datto Drive will cost $10 per terabyte, per month for an unlimited number of users in an organization, and Datto is giving away a free year of Datto Drive to the first one million companies that register for it, said Datto chief revenue officer Brooks Borcherding.

Borcherding said this giveaway is a big part of the initial marketing strategy for Datto Drive.

“Once a customer is comfortable using Datto Drive, we give them the ability to seamlessly ingest the data from other FSS providers to consolidate their use onto Datto Drive long term,” Borcherding said.

Being that Datto Drive is based on ownCloud, and supported by the open source community behind it, Borcherding said that community input will inform the feature roadmap for Datto Drive as the company begins to receive feedback. And, while the company’s initial goal is to seek widespread adoption in the SMB market, Borcherding said he could see Datto Drive being adopted by larger organizations, especially since many big companies also rely on ownCloud.

“We would expect Datto Drive to be of great interest to larger enterprises that recognize the current pricing of file sync-and-share solutions is incredibly expensive for a commodity service,” Borcherding said.

Disrupting the FSS market won’t be an easy task, though. In its 2015 Magic Quadrant for EFSS providers, Gartner pegged the overall number of FSS provides at more than 140. And, out of that 140+, only 16 vendors were ranked. While many of those vendors are only targeting large companies, that’s still quite a bit of competition.

Additionally, many enterprise vendors seem to be seeing the value in smaller companies as of late. Only a few days ago, Google offered a promotion to freely migrate mid-market companies that were already engaged in an enterprise agreement with another provider to its Google Apps platform.

Interested companies can sign up for Datto Drive here, or be on the lookout for a free webinar on the product to be hosted on May 5.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Datto recently launched an FSS service called Datto Drive that it is targeting toward SMBs as a cheaper option than other competitors in the space.
  2. Datto Drive will cost $10 per terabyte, per month, and the company is giving the service away for free to the first one million companies that register.
  3. The FSS market is crowded, to say the least, but Datto Drive could carve out a niche for itself as a unique open source alternative for companies that don’t need the additional products offered by Box or Dropbox.