Shadow Launches Cloud Storage Service Shadow Drive • TechCrunch

Shadow is now officially a tech company with two distinct products. In addition to cloud computing services especially for gaming, the company also launched Shadow Drive, a Nextcloud-based cloud storage service.

“A year and a half has passed since Octave Klaba acquired Blade’s vision: to remove technology barriers and bring cloud computing power to everyone,” co-founder and deputy CEO Stéphane Héliot said in a press release in Paris.

Octave Klaba, founder of OVHcloud, bought Shadow (formerly Blade) to save it from bankruptcy. Since then, OVHcloud has been a valued partner of Shadow. All shadow servers have been moved to OVHcloud’s data center.

In May 2022, the company unveiled its roadmap for the foreseeable future. It touches on three distinct pillars — the consumer cloud computing service that has been Shadow’s flagship product from day one, the new cloud storage service, and a custom service for businesses.

After several weeks of testing, Shadow has officially launched its cloud storage service, Shadow Drive. If you’ve been following Octave Klaba’s projects, you might remember his previous forays into the hubiC space. It was designed as a competitor to Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, but never really caught on.

Shadow is using Shadow Drive Press the reset button. This time, the company used Nextcloud as its foundation. If you’re not familiar with Nextcloud, it’s a popular open source online storage application that you can run on your own server.

Shadow Drive is a managed service, which means you don’t have to run your own server or manage anything – just like WordPress.com manages your WordPress site for you. Users can get a free account with 20GB of storage, or pay $8.99 or €8.99 per month for 2TB of storage. They can then store, share and sync files so they can be accessed through a web browser, desktop application or mobile application.

“Shadow Drive is based on two offers, one free and one paid — simple,” said Shadow CEO Éric Sèle. “And we will never monetize our users’ personal data, nor will we advertise on our site.”

This launch is just the first step, as Shadow Drive is still a work in progress. For example, the iOS app is still in beta. The company also plans to add WebDAV support so you can add your cloud storage account as a network drive in File Explorer on Windows or Finder on macOS. There will be more Nextcloud modules in the future.

Cloud computing services for gamers and businesses

As for Shadow’s main service, cloud computing, the company only launched its premium plan a few weeks ago. Now there are two configurations.

By default, subscribers get the equivalent of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage for $29.99 per month, or €29.99 in Europe. It’s a Windows instance, which means you can install whatever you want, like Steam, 3D editing software, etc.

Users can add a “Power Upgrade” option on top of the basic subscription for an additional $14.99 (or €14.99) per month. This time around, you’re getting an AMD EPYC 7543P CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads, 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX A4500 GPU.

I tried Shadow’s Power Upgrade and it was a smooth experience. Shadow already has 8,000 customers using this new configuration, and the company is working hard to add new slots.

Image credits: Romain Dillett/TechCrunch

Shadow is currently available in eight data centers. Since latency is key to cloud computing services, the company only accepts customers who live close to its data centers. The service is available in the United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. On December 7, Shadow added Spain to that list.

Users can access their Shadow instance from a computer, mobile phone, tablet, Smart TV running Android, or Apple TV. The idea is that you should be able to access your powerful shadow computer from the most basic of computing devices.

That’s why Shadow released the first version of its Raspberry Pi app today as well. With a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and (optional) gamepad plugged in, you can access your Shadow instance.

More recently, the company has also been working with enterprise customers who want to control multiple Shadow instances. For example, Bandai Namco Europe used the service in their Elden Ring media campaign. But Shadow can also be used by architects, animation studios, and all kinds of employees who need a powerful PC but don’t necessarily want to buy a tower computer.

Shadow is formalizing the product through Shadow Business Solutions. There are three different configurations:

  • Spark (Intel Xeon 2.5 GHz to 3.1 GHz CPU, 8 vCores, 256 GB SSD, 12 GB RAM, NVidia 1080/P5000 GPU)
  • Aurora (Intel Xeon 3.3 GHz to 4.5 GHz CPU, 8 vCore, 256 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM, NVidia RTX 5000 and 12GB VRAM GPU)
  • Lightning (Intel Xeon 3.3 GHz to 4.5GHz CPU, 12 vCore, 512 GB SSD, 32 GB RAM, NVidia RTX 6000 and 24GB VRAM GPU)

These configurations cost €59, €89, and €139 per instance per month, respectively. You can bring your own Windows license, or pay an additional €30 per month for a Windows Server 2019 license.

On December 5, the company will begin offering an administrative tool so enterprise customers can create, modify and disable Shadow PCs from a special administrative interface.

Again, this is just the first step, as the company plans to add some features that will be important to enterprise customers, such as rights management, configuration replication, group management, and backup management.

Finally, Shadow is also considering new revenue streams using Spot Compute instances. In this case, Shadow will provide on-demand GPU instances for training AI models and other GPU-intensive tasks. As you can see, Shadow is still fully investing in adding new products, new countries and new customers. It’s still a relatively small company, and cloud computing is a nascent industry.

So it will be interesting to see if Sony and Microsoft finally capture the cloud gaming market, and if the big cloud hosting companies start investing heavily in cloud computing as well. Now it appears that Shadow is back on the right track.

Image credits: Romain Dillett/TechCrunch

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