Alfresco: Microsoft SharePoint Alternative In the Cloud?

Alfresco Software is cultivating the cloud. The company offers open source enterprise content management (ECM) and competes with Microsoft SharePoint. In addition to on-premises moves, Alfresco provides a hosted cloud offering via Amazon Web Services’ EC2. Apparently, Alfresco's cloud focus is catching on with channel partners. Here are some details.

Alfresco in September 2009 announced its Cloud Content Application Developer Program, through which the company provides an open source “EC2-ready” stack and developer kit.

The arrangement lets partners develop content applications on top of EC2.

Today, customers are at least checking out the cloud-based ECM approach. “We are getting thousands of hosted trials per month,” said Bill Robinson, vice president of the Americas at Alfresco.

In particular, boutique systems integrators, which Robinson described as those having 10 to 250 consultants, are using the cloud to replicate their customers’ environment for development chores.

“We have several partners that spin up the stack the customer has and do development against that in the cloud,” he said.

The test and development setting is a conventional -- and fairly safe way -- to give the cloud a go.

Alfresco's cloud efforts are part of a broader channel effort at the company, which has shown momentum in the past year or so. Alfresco landed near the top of the 2009 Open Source 50 report, which tracks the most promising open source partner programs (the 2010 research is under way now).

Also of Note

Elsewhere, other recent cloud-based content management moves include:
  • SpringCM earlier this month launched the latest edition of its ECM cloud platform, which the company says makes it easier for customers to build document management and workflow applications. SpringCM works with partners, offering referral and reseller programs.
  • Also this month, Box.net made its cloud content management solution available as a Google Apps service. The arrangement combines content management with communication and collaboration services, according to the company. Box.net also offers referral and reseller programs.
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