I’ve noticed over the course of a very few months the nature of cloud storage has changed. It has proliferated in the sense that there are more providers and it has grown substantially cheaper and more voluminous in the amount of storage available for use. In addition, we’re beginning to see the one stop shop where the different kinds of cloud services needed can be obtained all from one vendor.
In an article I wrote not that long ago titled “IT’S GETTING CLOUDY OUT THERE” I looked at the cloud based systems that were available from the variety of vendors and the manner in which you sometimes, depending on need, had to piece more than one system together to accomplish your goals. As an example, for sync of computer to computer I felt SugarSync was probably the best way to go. For Direct Link a service like Cloudapp probably filled the bill best. The result of this analysis was that you really couldn’t go to one service for everything
The Clouds are changing Fast
However, things are changing and they are changing fast and dramatically. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella’s “mobile first, cloud first” is coming to fruition quicker than I thought. However, all indicators pointed to this as the lightening rod of the next generation of innovative yet powerful solutions are being readied.
The cloud and for all intents and purposes that means the makeup of cloud services is changing dramatically in the customer’s favour. Cloud services are ballooning in terms of the number of available companies you can buy from; the amount of disk space available for use is ballooning; and the costs are dropping dramatically.
Add to this the fact that cloud services are adding functionality which essentially means the need to get different cloud services to provide broad capability is decreasing. As an example of this and if you reference the article “IT’S GETTING CLOUDY OUT THERE” this will have more meaning. A brand new service referred to as MediaFire Desktop not only provides huge amounts of storage capacity at very reasonable prices but they also provide access to the information using a variety of links including “direct link.” What this means is you can get storage for sync’g and backup and direct link from one company. It is the beginnings of one stop shopping.
The Consumer as Beneficiary
The proliferation of cloud services and the addition of functionality to existing cloud services provides a barometer of two very important things. One, it definitely says the cloud is where its at. Just as in the past the computer wouldn’t be the computer without the Internet or another way of putting it is the way Sun did by asserting years ago”The Network is the Computer” your computer will be naturally working via the cloud for some function or variety of functions. I suspect this will be unavoidable if you are to take advantage of applications that will rely on the cloud to fundamentally operate. Think of the cashless society as an example of a very advanced application that can only be delivered via the cloud.
Secondly, cloud services are dropping in price dramatically and you’re now getting large amounts of storage space which at one time would have cost an arm and a leg. As cloud services proliferate costs come down as supply or capacity increases. That is what we’re seeing. Capacity on various cloud services is now being offered as unlimited depending on who you choose and for what. However, those that seem lethargic will only remain so for probably not too long into the future due to competitive pressures and their own internal demands to deliver advanced applications via the cloud.
This brings me to one final point. Apple seems to on the one hand delivering advanced cloud service applications however, if you were to need more space than what they offer for free it’s rather pricey. Apple interestingly isn’t a company where you go to buy cloud storage from per se. Buying cloud storage from Apple is driven by application demand and use from those applications. Again, this is a good barometer of what’s happening in the clouds.
The Vendor Wins
Satya Nadella clearly sees how the vendor, in this case Microsoft, is a winner. Microsoft’s most interesting product is Office 365 a productivity system that is enterprise class in nature but available to small business’ including those based on Macs. To get work done productively not only benefits from the cloud but requires it. Therefore, OneDrive Business is part of every Office 365 business solution.
Microsoft is apparently doing very well with Office 365 and rightly so. However, Microsoft has fully embraced the cloud. Nadella’s “Mobile first, Cloud first” strategy and vision is clear and to the point. The cloud and mobility are both front and centre to Microsoft’s vision of computing now and to come.
With this new embracing of the cloud, Microsoft products will likely become less expensive for cloud storage to compete against some of the new players that are entering the market. Further, the applications that will drive things as time passes will not only rely on the cloud but will demand a lot of the cloud. Prices and capabilities will adjust. As an example, OneDrive does not support Direct Link but technically there’s no reason for this. As demand increases for this, rather than letting people go to the competition they will enable capabilities such as this to ensure that their vision is met by their services.
The Clouds are Lifting
In my article “[IT’S GETTING CLOUDY OUT THERE]()” this was really a discussion of how confusing the cloud is getting as there is this unbridled proliferation of capability yet this unique requirement to go here for one kind of capability and there for another. In the end, you end up with a gamut of cloud services.
This is likely to change with the importance of the cloud and its value. There is a lot of value in keeping the customer from shopping around for a variety of cloud services to meet needs.
We are starting to get close and have in some cases arrived at the one stop shop for services. My expectation, with Microsoft’s well laid out vision, is that they will be a one stop shop.
Where it seemed to be getting cloudy out there and with that a sense of being a bit overwhelmed, the clouds are lifting and it’s becoming clearer. It is clearer that never has the cloud been so important and with that mobility. Mobility can’t go without the cloud and the cloud’s value, although present without mobility, is not nearly as interesting. Think of some of the cloud enabled services that we currently have that have changed the nature of markets such as music and entertainment delivery. Now imagine a cloud in which there are no bounds to your information and it is where you are regardless of geographic location or applications such as payment via your cellphone portending the cashless society that could not happen without the cloud. Finally, with the platforms enabled for these advanced applications and cloud services proliferating on a network that has a lot of unused capacity the applications to follow are not far behind ushering in a very liberating era.