Cloud storage 1.0 as it exists today has one primary service; it stores data. Not very exciting. Cloud storage 2.0 will have to provide the ability to do more with that data than just store it.The first step is to get data to the cloud. This could be via an online backup or via a syncing tool that sends your most active data to a cloud storage service. Once the data is in the cloud, the service provider should do something with that. The service ideas here are endless. Soonr Technology has the ability to leverage the cloud to send data. For example, if you are on the road and someone calls asking for a PowerPoint presentation that you have and you don't have your laptop but do have your phone -- simply pull up the phone's browser, go to your storage area on the cloud, and have it e-mailed. Soonr can convert the presentation to just JPEGs if you're sending it to another mobile phone, or you can even send it to a printer and have it printed for you.
Another big area will be to have the cloud storage provider be able handle your data litigation readiness. In addition to storing all your data for retention purposes, it also indexes and organizes those files. When you are sued and need all the files relating to "Project 123," you simply make the request of the cloud for any document with "Project 123" in the name and they can be downloaded to a local server. We're already seeing this outsourcing of data litigation readiness done today in the e-mail space by companies like LiveOffice and Mimecast.
Storing the data appears to the user to be simple; they walk by the $150 1-TB hard drives all the time, so you have to do more than just be a monthly version of the same. While there are many factors in a cloud storage offering, providing more services around the actual storage of data is the path to greatness in cloud storage.
For more on cloud storage, sign up for our Webcast September 29th: Cloud Storage 101.
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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.