Storage Optimization

Saturated: The Cloud’s Storage Dilemma

Posted in Analyst,Featured,Storage by storageoptimization on May 22, 2008

Yesterday’s Mashable post looking at online file storage providers caught my eye. Right now, online “cloud” storage providers are all targeting different markets, but the competition is fierce in all segments. Some are going after the consumer – such as AOL X-Drive -, some are going after online backup, and some are going after web site data. Actually, that article doesn’t even mention Amazon’s S3, for example, which is a huge online repository.

The obvious benefits are basically twofold: ease-of-use and – for most of them – the fact that they manage your data for you in terms of backing it up, replicating it, etc. The biggest drawback here is that you have to be connected to a network to get to your files.

Most customers will still look at cost/Gigabyte as the main motivator to use a service like this and, at the right price and benefit point, people will put their files online. Since all these storage service providers all buy their disks from the same small number of companies that actually make disk drives, the costs are all roughly the same for the physical infrastructure needed to build an online storage service and compete.

I think that the real solution here is that, for anyone to breakthrough and get some separation from the crowd, they are going to have to incorporate breakthrough storage optimization in their offering – and do so in a way that’s transparent to the end user. That could be dedupe, that could be compression, or it could be something more sophisticated like Ocarina. The main thing is that if you can get 5:1 or 10:1 ratios on how much logical space you can provide via the cloud to how much physical space you, as a provider, have to buy, then you can have a compelling proposition. The competition is fierce in this market and in order to grow and thrive in any business that offers online storage, the providers are going to have to develop a strategy to significantly increase their online storage capacity without increasing cost and overhead in step.


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  1. […] that enables incremental adoption of cloud storage on a very broad scale.” As we have noted several times, in order for cloud storage to truly take  off, it must include some kind of capacity […]

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