How To Stand Out in a Sea of Storage Startups

32 thoughts on “How To Stand Out in a Sea of Storage Startups”

  1. $20 per month for 15GB online storage as offered by Box.net is a very steep price. I hate to give out a secret, but if all you need is cheap online storage, have a look at the web hosters. E.g. 1and1 currently offers 120GB FTP space for $5 per month. Or get 300GB for $20, 20 times of what you get from Box.net. And you can sync to FTP or even mount it as a local partition …

    /Christian

  2. Maybe 8 years ago I tried an on-line storage facility called Driveway. When I retrieved the files, I found that I was unable to open/read them. Something had happened in the transfer. Maybe it would have worked for Windoz traffic, but it certainly failed for Mac and MicrosoftWorks files.

    The pro: it was free at the time.

  3. Om, great stuff. But may I suggest the addition of the word “Online” to your title? There’s a whole world of storage startups out there that aren’t in this game — and are happy they aren’t, I might add… 🙂

  4. The issue I have, as I tweeted it this morning, is my data safe & who can we trust in this cloud computing process? Is paying Apple for mobileme enough to trust them to keep our data safe? I wonder if building yourself an offsite storage solution is the answer. Whether it’s archived CD/DVD discs at someone’s home, or a small server sitting elsewhere. I still don’t believe in all these offsite storage solutions because they could be here today and gone tomorrow. Where does my data go then?

  5. I find that Dropbox (getdropbox.com) separates itself from the others
    by being incredible easy to setup and use (even my mother gets it)
    and having a very clean web interface. It has almost no “features”
    or options. It does one thing well.

    And it is the only system that supports Windows, Macs and soon Linux
    cleanly. (I am testing the Linux alpha release)

    It also makes sharing folders with other users easy.

    Like Cringely’s recent article just being a bit simpler/better is
    sometimes enough.

  6. AOL putting their foot in another steaming pile of their own byproduct (Xdrive) shouldn’t surprise anybody. It mirrors the way they gracefully tripped over their own shoes when the rest of the world was migrating quickly to high speed internet providers.

  7. There are alot of alternatives in this space, but anyone looking for solid online storage should check out wizzdrive, I’v been using them for a few weeks now and I have uploaded and downloaded data with no issues. In terms of owning a startup and working with storage issues cloud storage is becoming extremely effective, much like SmugMug used S3 alot of other companies are moving over to Nirvanix also, I hear they are more simple to use and offer 24/7 customer service,unlike Amazon. S3 tends to go down alot, so there is always a concern there.

  8. What I don’t get is why anyone would enter any relationship with an “online storage provider” (or WTF you call this category of products) when you can just buy a server and FTP your content to that server. Servers are so inexpensive anyway, and with this approach you have unfettered access to a networked device that only YOU are logging into.

    Not to mention the fact that many of the people considering these online storage services could probably fit most of their data on an external hardrive / backup. How there could be so many competing vendors offering similarly uninteresting / unnecessary service – not sure I understand either.

  9. Om- I agree with scope of article however focus is too narrow i.e PC to Cloud storage. For SMB and Enterprise, the biggest hurdle and therein the opportunity in days to come is likely to be how to protect/store and manage stored data and leverage aspects like collaboration/sync up services etc as an overlay. So, potentially a hybrid model may emerge -marry attributes of the premise such high speed LAN for local storage with that of Cloud for archiving/anytime access/Collaboration etc .
    I call this Storage 3.0..

  10. Om,

    I suspect your VoIP comment (Kevin Lynch article) will be true here, too:
    “Oneline storage [VoIP] unfortunately is [was] a feature (a very important) masquerading as an industry.”

  11. Om,

    It is difficult to make money in storage field, but not impossible, even without large company backing. We run two services IDrive.com (http://www.idrive.com) a consumer/Small business class online backup service and IBackup.com (http://www.ibackup.com), a small to medium size business class online backup with expected revenues for this year in 12+ Million range, and profitable.

    As they say, god is in the details, in execution. Even mozy, was only marginally successful and had to be sold to EMC to be really successful.

    You need to look around a little more to find successful entities in this segment especially since it is fragmented. We have seen this classic feed-off other bloggers in covering the same services (such as mozy) in every article they write about; not that there is anything wrong with mozy (to quote from Seinfeld).

    Raghu Kulkarni
    CEO
    Pro Softnet Corp

  12. Nice post Om – and it can be expanded to include a number of other Web 2.0 services – at the end of the day businesses need to have a pretty clear idea of how a web property will be monetised – it costs cash to feed developers, servers and bandwidth and without the fuel…. well you end up getting nowhere

    Bubble anyone????

  13. You’re totally wrong. You could have said the exact same thing about search 10 years ago. A commodity service that didn’t generate any revenue with a bunch of different companies trying to take a piece of the market (webcrawler, yahoo search, altavista, hotbot, dogpile, msn).

    You will be proved wrong in time. No sense in arguing it here.

  14. It seems to me he’s setting up an online storage of his own and trying to discourage competitors.

    It can be done ad based, file sharing can happen, you don’t need to go with amazon s3, it’s way too expensive.

    Sooner or later storage will be free, I might as well try it rather than another. And if the fact that there’s dozens trying means that its going to happen, it’d be worse if there were nobody, that’s a real bad sign.

    Why the big guys aren’t trying? what do you know if google will do it next week, those guys are planning to put self powered datacenters floating in the sea, the problem is that they would have to do a much larger deployment than the little guys, maybe they’re not ready for those costs, but you can see signs of this happening with Gmail, and with Google Apps hosting a bunch of office documents and grabbing by the balls.

    It’s not like selling jeans cause you’re offering storage, it’s the added value around the files what matters. Why do I have lots of office documents on Google Apps and not on DropBox, because I can use these files anywhere, without installing anything.

    It’s going to happen, don’t believe this guy, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And when one of those little guys manages to do it, Google better buy them quickly, because storing the world’s files is somewhat of a very powerful responsability.

  15. Of course it will happen. The crucial issue here however is that there are normally fairly managable limits on the amount of space a user will use for email hence the success of Gmail which offers great innovation and plenty of space. With regard to general data which comes in much larger volumes, open file management and database requirements there are significant cost in providing a service for free. The biggest difficulty however is not a cost or technology issue but an advertising issue. Gmail users check their email many times a day. Online backup users only see the application on a restore requirement so the advertising is less lucrative while the costs are far greater. Innovation and reducing costs will see that these difficulties are overcome and yes Google are likely to be at the fore through innovation and buyouts.
    John
    http://www.backupanytime.com/blog/whos-who-in-data/

  16. I agree, there are just too many and they all look the same.
    They all back up data differently though.
    I like the way DriveHQ works. And it works well.

    Some aspects worth looking at:

    Integrated with Windows file manager.
    Reliable and stable software.(Windows only)
    Realtime or scheduled backup.
    Backup of files in use.
    Backup Folders or individual files.
    Retention of file versions as changes are made.
    Reasonably priced.
    1 Gig free.
    The Company is focussed on quality.
    I believe their product is underrated. Probably one of the very best services available.
    See my website for discussions and recommendations on this subject.

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