RealTime IT News

Xdrive Sees Outage, Shelves Free Storage for Fee System

Xdrive Technologies Inc.'s free Express service went dim for a few days over the holiday weekend due to a misunderstanding between the popular storage provider and one of its investors.

Phil Ressler, senior vice president of marketing at Xdrive, said users of Xdrive Express were denied access for a few days after a misunderstanding among executives renegotiating deals between Xdrive and Storage Networks Inc. (SNI) caused Express to be shut off.

Reports of the outage surfaced on the doomsayer gossip site f**kedcompany.com, albeit with erroneous details.

Ressler, who said the mistake happened while negotiators were shuttling to and fro for the Easter holiday, said no one lost their files in the snafu, as was reported by a registered user at f**kedcompany.com.

"The key players were traveling and somewhere along the line someone got the wrong signal," Ressler said.

That news comes just as Xdrive is in the process of phasing out the free Express storage offering in favor of a new advertising-free subscription service.

Dubbed Xdrive Plus, the service includes heightened security previously only available to enterprise and service provider customers; specifically, 128-bit SSL technology, peer-to-peer file sharing, tech support and boosted transfer speeds.

Xdrive Plus effectively replaces Xdrive Express, a free individual offering that was supported by advertising revenue. The change is part and parcel of the company's move away from the rather frosty advertising-driven models many companies have given up on to concentrate on serving enterprise software and services. Xdrive has begun phasing out the Express service and those interested in retaining the storage provider's services would have to roll over to the subscription Plus model by April 26.

Phasing out of a business-to-consumer model is not a rarity among businesses these days. Last February, file management firm Driveway its popular storage service for individual consumers, saying that catering to consumers was just not a viable model at the time.

This notion would seem to make sense to X-Drive as most of their users use the service from home offices or large corporations. Subscribers also are able to keep business or personal files on an Xdrive and access those files from anywhere in the world. Xdrive Plus is compatible with Web-enabled device such as WAP phones and wireless PDAs to Web appliances to personal computers.

Xdrive Plus subscribers will receive two weeks of free trial service, after which the monthly price will be $4.95 for the first 25 MB of storage and service plans can be customized to accommodate as much space as required. Extra storage is available in blocks as small as 25 MB ($2.95 per month) to as large as one Gigabyte ($69.50 per month) and can be reduced or increased on demand. Current Xdrive Express users will also be given 10 days (4/24) in which they can convert their accounts to Xdrive Plus or remove their files.

Phil Ressler, senior vice president of marketing at XDrive, said that X-Drive's users number over 9 million people and that the new service is in keeping with users' requests for value-added services, such as spruced up security.

XDrive's investors include such major backers as Goldman Sachs Group, Wit SoundView Ventures and Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown to name a few.

Xdrive is well known in the IT community by those don't wish to carry a lap-top around everywhere. In fact, just last week it was revealed that the second beta version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP will contain a link to Xdrive XP's Web Publishing Wizard. Users will be able to store a file at Xdrive's site, where the user can retrieve it through any device that allows access to the site.