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Amazon leveraged its ample experience managing its own enormous storage installations and rolled out Simple Storage Service (S3), which offers online storage for about $0.15/GB with an additional $0.10/GB transfer fee.
Cloud-based storage is such a fast-growing--and still largely untested--product category that storage managers might want to invoke a Mick Jagger-ism and shout "Get off of my cloud!" But a better approach would be to get up into that cloud and take a good, long look around.
Before the cloud casts its shadow on traditional storage operations, the services will have to prove that they're reliable, can weather the storm of another dot.com downturn and maintain a consistent, predictable level of performance.
But there are compelling reasons to consider these services, especially for companies with strapped IT resources or underserved remote offices. And storage managers will have to get over the security of having their company's data sitting on company-owned big iron. Who wants to tell their CEO that some key data "isn't exactly here right now, but it's somewhere in the cloud"?
There's work to do before many users are likely to hitch their backup or DR wagons to the cloud. It may seem farfetched, but there might be a silver lining for some storage shops.
This was first published in April 2008