Promise Technology has a history in the SMB and enterprise storage space, but now the company is taking the lessons learned in that challenging segment and bringing them to the wider consumer audience with its new Apollo product and app, which it unveiled at CES 2016.
One of the most common complaints (and often borderline to full-on paranoia) associated with the cloud is that the user's data is stored on remote hardware. Large service providers are arguably more prone to be the target of a hacking attack, and there are always privacy concerns when storing data on a remote server controlled by another entity.
The Apollo product comes as a combination of a small appliance (in Promise parlance) and an app that installs on mobile devices, and optionally on PCs as well. The user configures the app to either selectively or automatically upload videos and photos, and the app transmits the data over the internet to the small appliance.
The appliance then shares the stored content as its own private cloud that is accessible from anywhere there is an active internet connection. This approach aims to provide the flexibility and features of the public cloud in tandem with the privacy of a user-controlled solution.
Apps such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon CloudDrive offer similar sharing and automatic upload options, but the promising aspect of this approach is the lack of recurring fees that are typically associated with the public cloud.
Each user also has the option for manual control of the sharing settings for their respective data, which should help family members to keep private data free from other prying eyes utilizing the same appliance. The appliance also encrypts all of the data that it transmits over the internet, which should help assuage the skittish.
The Apollo employs an ARM Cortex A9 CPU and 1 GB of DDR3 DRAM and supports up to 4 TB of capacity. The appliance also features a USB 3.0 port for external backup and restore operations and a 1 Gigabit internet connection.
Frankly, the Apollo will face significant headwinds in its attempts to grab a slice of the private cloud pie. The Cortex A9 CPU likely does not provide enough horsepower to support multi-user environments. Several simultaneous users, particularly if they are streaming video or music, will likely suffer degraded performance.
The competition in the private cloud realm is stiff, and NAS from vendors such as QNAP, Thecus and Synology, among others, offer similar functionality backed by much more horsepower to stream and handle multi-user environments. The public cloud also continues to become more cost-effective and has essentially unlimited storage and compute performance at its disposal to handle multi-user accounts.
The Apollo aims to compete with its well-rounded competition by offering simplicity, but it will also have to be competitive from a price standpoint, and the company has not indicated an MSRP. The Apollo will be available soon exclusively at Apple stores, which isn't exactly synonymous with low cost.