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Forget Dropbox, here's Drobo-box: Small-biz array meets Barracuda cloud

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Security appliance maker Barracuda Networks has agreed to marry its online file-sharing service to storage biz Drobo's box of hard drives called 5N.

People can upload and download files to and from Barracuda's Copy cloud, and share their data between desktop computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Android devices and Microsoft's Surface slabs. The accompanying app and basic service offers 5GB of space for free. There are also group sharing functions.

Now Drobo, as part of today's announced partnership, will plug its 5N desktop filer into Copy's systems: each box will be able to extend its local storage and document sharing into the Barracuda cloud and back up its data to the remote service. An app for the 5N that can access Copy will ship in March.

BJ Jenkins, CEO of Barracuda, said that when he arrived at the company a quarter ago Copy was in a private beta with 5,000-plus users and more than a million files stored. "We thought this was a product we could build an ecosystem around," he said. Jenkins knew Drobo CEO Tom Buiocchi and they talked. Buiocchi was receptive to the idea of a tie-up.

There is a three-tier Copy price list: personal users get 5GB storage at no charge. $99 a year gets you 250GB and $149 a year gets you 500GB. For company use, there is no per-seat fees. A $399 annual subscription gets you 100GB, $699 gets you 250GB and $999 gets you 500GB.

Both Jenkins and Buiocchi agreed in saying: "Barracuda Networks and Drobo will align their roadmaps ... We want to go pretty deep with this integration."

What we might eventually see is the spread of this strategy such that many small-business file-sharing boxes with a network connection get a public cloud extension to provide secure file sync and sharing services out to remote users, partners and customers. ®

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