Cloud Storage Shakeup

October 27, 20082 Comments

Google, Amazon, GoGrid, Rackspace (MOSSO), and now Microsoft (to name a few) all offer (or will offer soon) cloud-based storage solutions.  It’s always great to have choices, but with so many choices out there, developers may have a tough time deciding which vendors to select.  It will probably come down to a combination of several key factors:

  • Price
  • Programming Libraries and other Desired Services
  • Perceived Longevity & Commitment
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • and, again, Price.

question-cloud Amazon has a head start.  It pioneered cloud storage with S3 and is currently the dominant player.  I’d like to stop and applaud Amazon for their forward-thinking strategies.  What they’ve done for application developers is nothing short of game-changing.  Unfortunately, as more players enter the market, I can see my interest and dollars moving elsewhere.  As a .NET developer, while it’s never been difficult to use Amazon S3, it sure would be nice to have a set of libraries that are more tightly integrated with the .NET environment.  This is one area where Amazon could have focused to improve developer loyalty.  Yes, the libraries exist, but developers are still faced with implementing specific code for a particular environment in a do-it-yourself fashion.

What of the relative newcomers?  Will Google be a contender in this fight in the clouds?  For me, probably not.  I’m assuming Google will continue to focus on Javascript, Python, Java, and possibly PHP.  Google may be a great option for non-Microsoft technology, but I don’t think they’ll be courting .NET programmers.  GoGrid or MOSSO could make a big play in this game, but I think they’d have to make a large commitment to one or two tools.  They actually might be better off focusing on the PHP crowd since Microsoft may indeed own the .NET space. 

One area in which GoGrid and MOSSO could beat Microsoft, Google, and Amazon is by bundling storage with server hosting plans.  It will take awhile for Microsoft to rollout the big services that it has planned.  There will still be a major need for traditional and virtual web hosting.  The developers who pay for the hosting services would benefit greatly from inexpensive cloud-based storage, and why wouldn’t you select your own host’s services if they were well-supported and bundled with your existing server plan?

How long will it take for all of this to shake out?  For some vendors such as GoGrid and MOSSO, I think we’ll see some major accomplishments this year.  They have the smaller, more nimble teams, and are able to push the envelope.  The larger services will likely have an advantage down the road, but the goals are so huge that it may take awhile before speed and reliability are up to par.  In the short term, I’d say it’s anybody’s game, and a few vendors will come out ahead by cultivating developer loyalty through better support and pricing.


2 Responses to “Cloud Storage Shakeup”

  1. Kevin Dill says:

    Great post Shannon.

    I am a heavy user of the Amazon Web Services. While I also applaud Amazon, you are dead-on about the do-it-yourself fashion for coding. I do love EC2 and my Red Hat virtual web server as well as the new SimpleDB. I read where they are now offering a Windows environment.

    While S3 is pretty solid, always make backups of your EC2 instances. If they go down, they are history.

    Thanks again for the great post!


  2. Shannon Whitley says:

    Thanks for the comment, Kevin. You know, I could never figure out SimpleDB (or at least I couldn’t figure out how to make it work the way I wanted it to). Great concept though.

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