VMware Octopus Beta Launches

Ever since VMware demoed Octopus at VMworld last fall, sys admins have been waiting for the chance to check it out. On May 2nd VMware announced that the beta officially opened. Not long before, it released the Octopus app on iTunes.

It appears that VMware is ready to take on Dropbox for Teams, and the yet to be released Novell Filr. While many people are familiar with Dropbox, only sys admins and IT policy police realize how dangerous it can be to an enterprise. Anyone working in a secure environment on restricted or proprietary data and documents knows that sharing the files via standard email is ill advised. Email isn’t secure and even encrypted emails can still be intercepted. Yet often this is how collaboration takes place between internal and external teams.

Some IT work arounds include secure document hosting services that allow sharing via a secure download. Security wise this makes the IT folks happy. But generally is a pain to manage from a user’s perspective since it involves uploading files and email confirmations on both ends.

With Octopus, VMware is offering enterprises the ability to set up a more sophisticated solution while offering full admin control. The result is a Dropbox like experience that is secure, fully managed by local IT on a private or public cloud (or a VMware service partner), and convenient enough that users will actually want to use it.

One of the nicest features from the end user’s perspective is the high-def preview of documents. You can click on any document or file on the server and preview the entire document without having the native app installed - a boon to Microsoft office users who refuse to give up their iPad. The video from VMworld shows a great example of this.

For sys admins the ability to establish policies at various levels, as well as detailed logging, means company data is more secure (at least it should be) and only being shared with those that need to have it. This should mean less rouge employees using their personal dropbox for company documents.

The beta is still open, but application priority is given to active VMware engagements. The final release date is TBD, but the battle for the enterprise file sharing business has begun.