Bitcasa Survey Highlights Cloud Storage API Battle

In theory, developers are supposed to welcome the advent of cloud storage because APIs make data stored on those platforms more accessible. But a new survey of 231 developers conducted by Bitcasa, a provider of a file system that is widely used in the cloud, suggests that many developers either find those APIs too limiting or simply don’t want to share information about their users with cloud vendors such as Box or Dropbox.

In fact, the Bitcasa survey also found that most developers (52 percent) continue to store data on the device rather than in a commercial cloud storage service.

According to Bitcasa Chief Executive Officer Brian Taptich, many developers prefer to deploy the Bitcasa Cloud FS because it gives them a lot more control over the customer experience, while at the same time generally resulting in better application performance using the APIs that Bitcasa has developed to optimize cloud storage performance. Bitcasa is widely deployed on cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Obviously, providers of commercial cloud storage services have published APIs as part of an effort to entice developers to build applications on their platforms. But Taptich says that a lot of his company’s business comes from cloud service providers — such as AWS — that refer developers to Bitcasa. It’s only a matter of time before more developers are forced away from locally storing data in favor of the cloud. The dilemma those developers will face, says Taptich, will be choosing between commercial cloud services such as Box or Dropbox versus deploying Bitcasa Cloud FS in a way that allows them to retain maximum control.

For those very reasons, Bitcasa reports that SimpleECM, a provider of an invoice processing application, opted to replace the Box API with Cloud FS.

While providers of commercial cloud services have been able to aggregate a lot of data, it’s not clear how much of that data has value from an application development perspective. There’s no doubt that there’s an opportunity for developers to create applications on those platforms. But Taptich says most developers are not necessarily aware of all their data storage options in the cloud.

Bitcasa may not be as big an industry name as Box or Dropbox, but among cloud service providers such as AWS, the Cloud FS platform is fairly well known, which means that as more developers move to the cloud it may only be a matter of time before many more of them become a lot more familiar with Bitcasa.

Michael Vizard