As the big providers continue to lower costs of their cloud storage services, it begs the question how cheap can cloud computing get, and will there ever be a point where our remote storage is actually free? Many industry experts believe that at the current rate of development, cloud computing power will eventually become free for most, or so cheap that its price will be absorbed by big providers. Earlier this this year Google significantly dropped the prices of its Google Drive online storage service.
Microsoft soon reacted to the Google price dropped and matched their costs accordingly for the OneDrive, albeit with fewer options. Apple are noticeably a little tighter with only 5GB of free storage before the first 79p monthly upgrade takes place. Throwing cloud storage in as part of a bigger subscription package is a useful carrot the big providers have begun to offer.
In terms of generosity, Microsoft have been particularly lavish with their allotment of cloud storage. Google have been particularly generous to those in full-time education, the company has offered students a whopping 5TB of storage on the new Drive for Education for completely free. Google recently upped the ante with another round of price cuts for their Compute Engine cloud service which will now cost 10% less across the board. Google, Microsoft and Apple have entered into a war of attrition in the consumer cloud market trading the cheapest storage options.
Competition is naturally the first factor in this, the companies want you housing your data on their systems as frankly you’re paying them and you’ll be more inclined to pay for their other projects and programmes afterwards. The evolution of technology hardware, specifically storage capacity, has meant that the cost of housing data has simply become cheaper. Well, the question is difficult to predict as we already have a number of ‘free’ storage options, however as with Microsoft, the OneDrive storage cost is probably absorbed in your subscription to Office 365, so it’s not free as a standalone product. As for Google, Dropbox and Apple’s free 15 (or 5) GB of storage, the capacity is ok for a few files but no good for backing up whole music collection or movie stash. Although the price of online storage is continually falling, there will always some sort of cost to host data. Moore’s law suggests that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double approximately every two years. We’ve seen this become particularly prevalent in the Hard Drive market and it likely cloud or NAS will follow. In the next few years when a 1TB of cloud storage is as scoffed at as 1GB, companies may have a different mindset.
I am a low user in printing but I’m after a wifi printer, taking into account the price of the printer and ink refills what would be the best printer for me to get. Seems a little odd that you include the logo at the top of the article, yet don’t even mention them? I was just about to post the same as Ben – MEGA give 50Gb free, easily beating Google, MS and DropBox. The most complex and costly storage challenges are entirely related to storing and managing data over a life cycle that must be longer than reasonable on rapidly evolving digital systems. The lifecycle of data and information management within the business is tremendously long, complex and costly because data must be moved and manipulated. Pairing the cloud with this primary source of data creation presents the opportunity to touch nearly every piece of business data at the very point in time when it is created, and this can put an end to these separate practices. Retention: Data could be captured for archive and compliance as soon as it is created, and then transferred into the cloud when the time is right, without requiring separate applications, storage appliances, and IT processes. Disaster: Meanwhile, primary data could still be synchronized with the cloud periodically to create offsite replicas that could, if done right, forever replace complex disaster recovery technologies, dispense with tape and physical transport, and provide a master repository from which recovery data could be accessed, from anywhere.
These are not small challenges to tackle, but the potential improvements we've highlighted in these examples can create a massive transformation in the practice and costs of data storage and management and reduce a surfeit of technologies to one single data storage and management array. While there is vast room for considerable innovation and differentiation, we can boil the fundamental requirements for delivering CES down to a few capabilities. Just as importantly, CES requires state of the art primary storage features, that are entirely array-integrated. Finally, delivering CES is more than simply turning to the cloud as a parking lot for old data. Only a few vendors have broken through in delivering what we consider true CES, although there are several who have begun steadfastly moving in the direction of CES. Among new innovators, there are many cloud-attached appliances serving up various incarnations of product similar to CES.

Such solutions will no doubt continue to deliver significant value, but if selecting a vendor on the promise of transforming the entire lifecycle of data storage, pay close attention to their current product and the practicality of their promised roadmap. I'm David Rosenthal, and this is a place to discuss the work I'm doing in Digital Preservation. I'm naturally happy when someone cites my blog and uses my data, as Alex Teu did in his post Cloud Storage Is Eating The World Alive on TechCrunch. Lets just say Alex has a vested interest in convincing you that the cloud magically solves all your problems. He has an impressive graph to support this claim, based in part on data from my post Cloud Storage Pricing History.
The reason why Alex's projecting of the recent price changes into the future is wrong is that the introduction of competition into a previously monopolized market is a one-time thing.
Fifth, Silicon Valley and other place are overrun with startups building all-flash and flash-disk hybrid storage systems.
Alex correctly points out that traditional storage vendors are having a hard time, comparing Q1 2013 with Q1 2014 for 6 large vendors, with drops from 20% (IBM) to 2% (NetApp).
It obviously isn't "well established that cloud storage is 10X better", presumably than local storage, since there are 8 other technologies that Chris thinks are partly causing the mainstream storage array business to shrink.
PS: This is my second post in a few months debunking credulous techno-optimism from the tech media. In this post, I’ve presented 20 different online storage service providers with their free offerings, minimum-maximum paid volume plans and finally derived the per-gigabyte storage costs. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. Cloud storage solutions needs to be separated into two markets, the consumer and business markets.
In this blog we compare the end point cost of cloud storage provided in the consumer market. When we do narrow Cloud Storage down to the price point, we get a crude comparison of granny smith apples, to google apples, to microsoft apples, to fuji applies, etc.
What the basic end price point now tells consumers is that they can now use the cloud to share data across machines and locations, that they can dump their physical backup drives and that over all, it is nearly time to migrate your digital lives and consumer cloud services.
What we are wondering is this - Is the current storage solution pricing a loss leader to other objectives and is this based on realistic demand patterns ? Note that for Amazon AWS S3 - we summed the storage and data upload for the same storage amount for this comparison.
Akamai, Amazon AWS, Dell, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, Rackspace, Salesforce, Yahoo.
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Even Apple dropped the cost of their iCloud service in a bid to keep up with the other big providers and coincide with the new iPhone 6 launch. If you’re an Office 365 Home, Personal or University user you get a tidy 1TB of space with your annual subscription. It’s not just Google bringing costs down in this sector, Oracle (another cloud service provider) announced it would lower its database costs in bid to catch up with Amazon’s pricing structure. For the moment Google appear to be in the driving seat in terms of cost however Microsoft’s generous Office 365 OneDrive package is pretty alluring and Apple user’s reliance on a now, much cheaper iCloud is another close rival. Most users, if they we’re to go fully online, would need to be pushing the 500GB mark minimum for storing real media. The hardware alone means there will be a running cost, it’s whether companies can accept taking a hit to absorb the costs to offer their service out for free, to draw customers in for other services.
This will drive down the cost and size of traditional circuits, allowing for improvements in various media, like storage. My advice, for what it is worth, I have used an HP wi-fi printer and had a lot of problems with it, always refusing to connect to my Wi-fi. And Google didn't think that was fair."Together we are resetting the price curve in the cloud to where it should be," explained Google's cloud king Urs Holzle. CES will have resounding and lasting impact on the practice of storage because that life cycle begins when data is created on primary storage.

The consequent cost savings will drive cloud integration to the forestage of the primary storage market. This could unlock highly virtualized, hosted DR on-demand, and do away with wasted standby conventional infrastructure.
While each may seem simple or common place on its own, it is the synergistic integration of these capabilities that will create an enormous breakthrough in how we store data and deliver a comprehensive set of features such as those in Figure 4. As usual, primary storage must include the best clustered, active-active controllers designed for non-stop operation, enterprise components, and redundancy throughout. Such features include internal array virtualization that reduces complexity and harnesses all disks into a single pool of easy to use storage, thin-provisioning, a full set of snapshot and cloning technology, flexible replication, and enterprise caliber management and visibility.
The cloud requires unique integration, and vendors that fail to innovate may serve up additional capacity, but they will fall far short of enhancing and extending an array to tackle complex lifecycle problems. It stands to eliminate the most complex storage tasks in the data center, without any more infrastructure alteration than the replacement or addition of a primary storage array.
Cloud-integrated Enterprise Storage stands to be transformative across all data storage practices, and will alter the cost equation of enterprise storage. By drawing lines between the data points Alex suggests that prices have decreased smoothly. You need to pay up-front for local storage, but once you've done that access is effectively free.
For example data demand patterns in telecom data usage which the models may be based upon may not represent the usage patterns in storage. Dropbox initially offer 5GB however this can be upgraded through a series of reward to the 16GB mark. The integration of cloud and primary storage systems for the first time enables primary storage to deliver features and data management well beyond physically limited devices, systems or data centers.
Within each of these practices and storage silos, the cloud has so far delivered innovative possibilities for reducing complexity and cost of ownership. Moreover, today performance is a hotbed of innovation, and customers are steadily coming to expect uniquely integrated and always optimized high IO media (solid state) alongside exceptional approaches to caching that can constantly deliver maximized performance but simultaneously auto-tier data to rotational disk to minimize the cost of capacity. Innovative integration will reach beyond capacity expansion and provide effortless, always-on backup, seamless offsite data protection, instant DR from anywhere, cloud provider lock-in elimination, and total performance and capacity optimization irrespective of where data is located. Such potential can yield a massive transformation in the total cost of ownership for storage, and it will foment rapid innovation in this market.
Some time ago the 3PAR team began crafting innovative cloud partnerships under the banner of their CloudAgile program. Yes, its likely that the market will in future be more competitive than it was when Amazon was the only game in town and their margins were obscene.
They include when demand is very spiky, when it is growing unpredictably, or when capital is extremely expensive.
Such storage can eradicate or at least massively reduce the need to move and manipulate stored data. But each of these practices, even with new technologies, remains an isolated silo and each carries enormous cost.
First-generation cloud-attached storage devices were too often dependent upon a cloud connection for the use of their features; such systems are not ready to delivery primary storage that must be always-on. The combination of those features will enable a single physical device to reach far beyond physical boundaries and handle all data storage lifecycle needs. Hitachi has more recently moved toward CES by linking their BlueArc (NAS) and Panasas (scale-out file storage) acquisitions to offsite, Hitachi Content Platform storage. But that means it will move in line with the underlying cost of storage, which will be much less free than it used to be.
Here I’ve prepared a table to show the lowest possible cost of per gigabyte online storage at the current market price. And committing all your storage to the cloud carries all sorts of risks that must be set off against any potential savings, from foreign government action to, as The Register recently reported, Total Inability To Support Usual Performance.
In each case these traditional legacy vendors have taken the first step by integrating their primary storage with their own "private cloud." We expect the next step will be to integrate with the pubic cloud.

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