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eXo Readies Service That Ties Collaboration and Social Networking

A number of companies are looking to offer cloud-based document collaboration services, among the most prominent of course are Box and Dropbox. Both are attempting to provide some of the core collaboration features offered in Microsoft SharePoint.

The latest company to enter those sweepstakes is eXo, a French company that last year set up shop in San Francisco after inking a relationship with Red Hat Software to source the technology that became the basis of its JBoss Enterprise Portal platform. As announced this week , eXo is now gunning to meld document collaboration with enterprise social networking.

SharePoint has some social networking features and Microsoft is expected to beef those up with the anticipated release of the next version, code-named SharePoint 15. While Box and Dropbox have carved their niche with their cloud-based storage and document sharing services, and have tons of venture money to keep them afloat for a long time, companies such as Jive Software, Salesforce.com's Chatter and Yammer are better known for their enterprise social networking capabilities.

If eXo has its way, it will attract enterprise customers by offering the best of both worlds. The company released to beta a free service called eXo Cloud Workspaces. Benjamin Mestrallet, founder and CEO of eXo said the problem with services such as Box and Dropbox is they allow individuals to share enterprise information without giving IT any control over the data. Though it's easy for users to move data onto those services, "what happens if you need to bring documents back? How can you ensure documents and information can be brought back?" Mestrallet said.

Based on the eXo Platform 3.5, the company's premises-based collaboration platform, eXo's Cloud Workspaces is a multitenant platform as a service, according to Mestrallet, who said the company spent two years re-architecting a multitenant version that would allow customers to share Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) and application servers and spin additional ones as needed on an elastic basis. "Hence we can get density that is 100 times greater than traditional PaaS," Mestrallet claims.

Cloud Workspaces features a document management repository that lets users organize, tag and share documents with version control. It offers an enterprise wiki that can be shared by communities, activity feeds and native applications for iOS and Android-based devices. The company also offers a cloud-based IDE. The ultimate goal is to let IT link content in Cloud Workspaces to eXo Platform 3.5.

During the beta period, eXo is offering customers unlimited storage space and it is open to anyone who wants to test the service. The company is not saying how much it will charge once it commercially releases the service.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on April 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM


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