In the enterprise cloud storage space, Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) and EMC’s Atmos Online are two of the well-known cloud storage brands. We also have to mention that Microsoft (Azure) and Google (GoogleStorage) officially entered this market in 2010. Other players in the space include Symantec (Huawei-Symantec) and Cleversafe.
Atmos Online’ shutdown makes the cloud storage market become unpredictable for enterprise customers. The real reasons are anyone’s guess. In the small business and consumer market segment, online storage such as Humyo is a good solution for customers with multiple distributed offices who need a unified management-free back-up solution.
But for enterprise customers, there is a lot of dependency on SLA, privacy, compliance, audit and channel partners. If channel partners make more money selling solutions (software and hardware products) than selling services, then cloud storage could become just another bundling element in their deals.
The average monthly fee for a GB of cloud storage is approximately 5 to 15 cents, depending on the provider. Some providers also charge for traffic flows (in and out). For 5G of space and 10G of traffic, the monthly cost is about $2.50 — cheaper than even the cost of the electric power consumed in a month.
The fundamental issues are:
- Do enterprise customers have the adequate broadband infrastructure for cloud based storage applications? (Note: EMC never set up any SLA for Atmos)
- Do enterprise customers really have the need to move their data to cloud storage?
- Finally, are existing security measures efficient?
Before these fundamental issues are addressed, a majority of the enterprise customers are just watching and waiting. While most enterprise customers are watching, the pricing pressure for the service providers will become increasingly apparent. Atmos Online may not be the last to shut down.
A private storage cloud may be an alternative route, but what is the cost equation for building and managing a private cloud? Will enterprises then have to build a corresponding private security infrastructure along side their private storage cloud? The complexities and costs of a private storage cloud make cloud storage vendors look more appealing.