I remember my early childhood when the first PC I ever owned was delivered to my house. It was a secondhand XT 8088, a very simple CPU architecture (I studied this during my engineering days later). The machine did not have a hard-disk. It had a 640 kB RAM storage which was used for the OS and any other programs that I wanted to run (mostly games).
When I saw my first hard drive later that year, I was amazed. What could you possibly store with 15 MB of storage space!! It seemed as an overkill at that time.
Two and a half decades from then, even 1 TB seems less. I have stopped relying on hard drives (since they keep crashing) altogether and I am relying solely on the cloud for all my business critical data.
What are Cloud Storage Services?
Cloud Storage Services are data storage services made available for public use by different hosting providers.
An excerpt from Wikipedia –
Cloud storage is a model of data storage where the digital data is stored in logical pools, the physical storage spans multiple servers (and often locations), and the physical environment is typically owned and managed by a hosting company.
Do we need Cloud Storage?
At 13 Llama Studio, we are relying completely on the cloud. Our CRM data (existing and future pipeline) is on the Google Cloud, our code is on B thitbucket, our hosting is on AWS / Rackspace and Digital Ocean. Our project management is on Trello, our messaging is on Slack.
Yes, we have embraced the cloud completely. A day without internet is a day when we are either coding all day or its a holiday!
Some people might raise their eyebrows and share their concerns about privacy and security. However, the Total Cost of Ownership of setting up similar service on our own is too high. The CTO sometimes has to put on the CFO’s hat and take a decision based on financials alone.
Not to mention the headaches of maintaining uptime for the organization!
So which Cloud Provider would you go for?
This is where the Gartner Magic Quadrant comes handy.
The AWS and Microsoft cloud platforms seem to be the most complete (possibly because of the multitude of different cloud based services they provide). A lot of Indian businesses chose to go with the Microsoft cloud because of the familiar name as well as the massive promotions that Microsoft keeps running for the adoption of their system.
Another factor when choosing the right cloud is the Round Trip Time (RTT) from the data center to your base of operations. Asia is at a major disadvantage here since the nearest data centers are in Hong Kong or Singapore for the major cloud providers. That’s a latency of 100 ms at least!
Niche Cloud Services
There are other providers who provide SaaS services which are not even included in the quadrant. The big players have still managed to get a mention, I guess primarily because of their enterprise promotions and exposures.
I especially liked Gartner’s call of keeping one axis as the ability to execute. One year back, I would have included Rackspace in the leaders quadrant, however the past year has been bad for their services. I have already bitched about them on my blog and we have since shifted away from Rackspace (almost).
However, for a new start-up who is looking to embrace the cloud, the best options are the market leaders (AWS and Microsoft). Unless the need is well known and you know a better niche storage provider, such as GitHub/Bitbucket for code.