I’ve been following the online data storage market very carefully, (having worked at a data storage company for 3 years)
The new model of web companies is to minimize technical infrastructure, such as using webservices like a utility like power or water.
Tim O’Reilly is asking for numbers from clients, a case study to show how the web is an infrastructure. The benefits? pay as you go, no need for a sys admin or HW purchase, no upgrading, and hopefully no data loss. Of course, the real risk is worrying about where your corporate data is, Jeff Nolan notes some issues with continuity with databases and storage.
Amazon is not alone, I’ve a list of quite a few enterprise IT vendors that are also entering the online data storage industry, so please don’t forget those companies (who already have a large install base)
The big picture for Online Data storage is the opportunity for effective marketing, (there are other opportunites and disruptions to think about as well). When user data is stored on the cloud, the opportunity to understand, organize, and connect information is at hand. This is why I have the theory that Amazon S3 will eventually pay users (or other online data storage users) to upload data.