Future of Online Storage, 40 points to think about

Many of these thoughts and observations I’ve had in my head, I’ve shared them in a few passing conversations but this is the first time I’ve ever written them down. The timing is fitting as today I’ve been invited as a VIP to the Future of Web Applications conference in San Francisco.

Although I’m a Web guy working at a Data Storage company, please note these thoughts are my own personal thoughts and observations, and do not reflect those of anyone else.

1) Consumers are now Producers. A few years ago, only the technicaly inclined and web savvy could easily publish a website, video, or an audio show. Now technology has enabled anyone to be able to publish on a social site, a blog, pictures, audio, and video is now becoming easier to do.

2) The Storage Cloud is/will be the amorphous entity of online data that will be uploaded from a variety of sources, retrieved from a variety of tools, and rehashed into new forms and outputs.

3) At some point it will be unclear who owns what in the Storage Cloud, and that will be ok, it will be a shared collective pool of media.

4) Think about Data Storage to the Side, or Peer to Peer Storage.

5) Some companies will want data stored at a third party vendor, one successful model is salesforce.com.

6) In the near future, many companies will offer personal online storage, even non-storage companies. (Forget “Free Checking” think of free storage).

7) Online Data Storage will evolve, personal online data storage will be offered to developers (Amazon’s S3 currently does this) and then to small businesses, it could/will evolve to medium sized?

8) YouTube could double their storage needs every four months.

9) The Long Tail theory is more important than ever.

10) See fictitious dramatic Google Grid movie.
“Google Grid”: “…a universal platform offering an unlimited amount of space and bandwidth that can be used to store anything. It allows users to manage their information two ways: store it privately or publish it to the entire grid.”

11) Some small companies can’t afford system infrastructure, they will want storage on demand. They will outsource storage.

12) The future of Online Storage encourages sharing, there will be APIs available so the content be shared with other online applications and rich clients. The data will be mashed into new forms.

13) Online Data (media) may or may not be unstructured, but organized. Think about Microformats.

14) “Amazon S3, the Simple Storage Service is used to store objects using the Amazon online storage infrastructure. The API is uses Buckets, Objects, Keys and Operations. An object has four parts: value, key, metadata, and an access control policy. Objects are stored in buckets.” From Programmable Web.

15) See Google Base. Learn about it.

16) Storage is a commodity and many players have entered. A few large names like Amazon, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. More will enter
Many Online Data Storage company startups have appeared (about 100). Always remember, you get what you pay for.

17) Online Data storage is at the gig level. Terabyte will be achieved in near future.

18) Consumers will want to access their data from anywhere and want it centralized for access.

19) Prediction: By 2010 all Media will be 50% consumer created. (Heard on Jaffe Juice podcast)

20) The Long Tail theory is relevant as not all media is consumed equally (but all is important), think about Tiered storage.

21) Online Video companies like YouTube, Google Video, Blip, and a ton of others have massive storage growth needs. Read more of my posts tagged ‘Video’.

22) The Internet and TV will marry into a new medium. Their child will be a hybrid called IPTV. Read more of my posts tagged IPTV.

23) Google wants to harness all the world’s information.

One powerpoint from Google says the following:
”…They say that they should be able to house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)” which leads to a world where “the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache”. And, they say that they want “transparent personalization” that uses user “data to transparently optimize the user’s experience … implicitly.”

24) I predict consumer level data storage will become SO cheap, that the model will flip and online storage companies will PAY consumer/producers to upload content in return for contextual marketing and advertising.

25) Producers (everyone) will get paid to upload content that is appealing. Individuals become media outlets, again, consumers are producers.

26) I’ve created an Industry wiki. Learn more about the Data Storage Industry here:

27) Local content can easily be retrieved and resynched from the Storage Cloud.

28) Google will offer unlimited online storage (I believe it’s already possible to upload as much video as you want, this is happening faster than we probally think).

29) Mobile devices will publish automatically to the storage cloud, without going to local drives, for many this is already a reality.

30) Many will try to make online content secure, some will fail horribly.

31) Learn more about Microsoft and Google from Techcrunch: Microsoft Livedrive and Gdrive.

32) Predictions of Gdrive from Techcrunch.

33) Techcrunch Review of a few Online Data Storage Companies in Jan 2006, it’s nearly impossible to do this now as there are about 100 vendors.

34) Techcrunch: Amazon: Grid Storage Web Service Launches.

35) Is Bandwidth an issue? Jeremy Zawodny Yahoo’s top blogger has some ideas. See Swimming Pools and HardDisks.
He thinks that bandwidth isn’t an issue, as it can happen slowly and behind the scenes.

36) Listen to IT Conversations Podcast: Universal Access to All Knowledge.

37) Earthlink to Launch Online Storage and Photo Storage.

38) Dion’s excellent post Online Information Storage: Completing the Web as Platform.

39) YouTube’s potential Revenue stream.

40) Traditional storage companies may struggle to understand and react to what I wrote above.