Well this is a personally sad post for me. I have made the difficult decision to move away from my fulltime position here at Division-M. Unfortunately slowing Drive Bender sales and sluggish Cloud Xtender numbers have meant that ongoing development at the current pace is just not financially possible. The slowing Drive Bender sales were anticipated, as Windows Storage Space’s had a big impact on this market, not to mention the cloud is also seeing users move from large local storage to much cheaper cloud solutions. Our strategy was to have Cloud Xtender pick up the slack, however this has not happened. While the initial Cloud Xtender numbers looked good, these have not been sustained.
So what happens next? Well for the most part, not too much… Belinda, our main support person will be staying on and servicing support requests as she has always done. Although I’m no longer working fulltime here, I will be helping with the more technical queries either via support or the forum. As for the future of Drive Bender, PoolHD and Cloud Xtender… at this point in time there has been no long term decisions made, but I’m confident that they will continue on, we just need to work out the details. Having said that, there are a couple of important points I would like to stress to existing users.
1) All valid licenses will continue to work now, and into the future. There are no plans to scrap the products.
2) As it stands we have pending updates for all products. There are a number of bug fixes with Drive Bender and Cloud Xtender, and a Windows 10 compatible version of PoolHD. These will be released over the coming weeks.
Finally I just want to say that this decision has not been an easy one, personally I have invested a huge amount of time and money into building this business, and developing its products… and for the most part, it has been very successful. However, as with any business it must be able to generate a sustainable revenue. I would like to say that from the get go, Drive Bender in particular has had a loyal following, and has chalked up 10’s of thousands of sales… and I thank everyone for their kind words and feedback over the years.
Ahh well, that’s about all I have for the moment. It has been a fun ride, but all good things must come to an end… now where did I put my CV?
There is an old saying that is often used by companies to describe using their own products… that is “Eat your own dog food!”. I’m sure it’s hardly surprising to learn that we use our own products, however it is often tricky to actively use all the features, or utilize the products in all the different ways users do. For example, Drive Bender is used on a number of servers in our office mainly for file and machine backups. Personally I also used it on a WHS 2011 machine at home for movies, music and home backups. Over the years this has proved to be an excellent way to tune real world performance, and discover potential new features. However when it comes to Cloud Xtender, this is more difficult. In the past we have used a third party cloud backup service (CrashPlan as a matter of fact), but during the development of Cloud Xtender, we switched to it for our off site backups. Files are sync’d to a server running a Cloud Xtender drive, and these are then pushed to the cloud. This all works a treat, however used in this manner we really don’t interact with the Cloud Xtender drive as such, so things like real world performance are harder to gauge. So the challenge here is to use Cloud Xtender in a more extreme manner… so a couple of months ago I decided to go all out and install it on my primary development machine. It replaced my “files” drive which contains all work related documents, source code and a bunch or personal files… in all there are over 550,000 files! In addition, this drive is also used to build software against (including Cloud Xtender itself), which has allowed me to asses it’s real world performance, while also providing real time cloud backup. As you could imagine, performance is everything… for example when compiling there are over 12K files system requests a second, quite the load for a virtual drive. I would like to say it was all was peachy from the get go, but using it under these conditions did expose a number of performance issues and bugs. On the plus side however, it has allowed me to tweak the performance and iron out these bugs… all of which is the basis of the current v1.6 release. It’s is hard to imagine a more extreme environment, although I’m sure there is 😉