What's different about Symform's concept is the business model -- using small and midsize companies' spare capacity to keep costs down while offering a disparate, yet cooperative, data storage cloud.
Dave Simpson, an analyst at 451 Research, said Symform stands out from other online cloud storage providers because of its value proposition.
"This is an intriguing value proposition that could bring costs even lower while providing higher performance and security via a cloud network where data is distributed globally," he said. "And Symform's growth figures prove that end users and channel resellers are receptive to the concept."
Symform's software backs up any new or changed files to its peer-to-peer cloud. The storage capacity is distributed across the Internet from users in 150 countries.
When Symform accesses local capacity from a PC for its universal storage pool, its software takes blocks of up to 64MB in size and breaks them into 96 fragments. It then uses either a RAID 5 or RAID 6 parity, depending on the service plan, to protect that data in those fragments. The company uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure the storage capacity it uses.
Symform requires users to download with it calls "light backup software" that establishes its data backup service on an array, server, desktop or laptop computer. The backup application also allows users to designate drive capacity in the form of a folder for Symform's universal cloud pool. As a customer increases their use of Symform's cloud capacity, they can in turn increase the size of the folder designated for Symform's cloud pool by using a sliding bar icon.
"That helps us build excess capacity in our storage network and we can then monetize that through other users who may not contribute storage capacity but instead pay for it," said Praerit Garg is President and Co-Founder of Symform. "It allows us to create a storage marketplace, if you will, to monetize that."
Garg makes the pitch that it's far cheaper for someone to buy a 2TB hard drive for about $80 and then share that capacity with the pool than to pay to backup 2TB through a service. For example, MozyPro charges $379.99 a month to back up 1TB of capacity.
"At the end of the day, backup just turns out to be a risk/cost analysis. The other choice is to buy your own backup drive," Garg said.