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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cloud Storage Land Grab: S3, EMC Atmos or Windows Azure

 Cloud storage wasn’t well known until Amazon popularized it with S3. S3 is still ahead of competition, while competitors like EMC Atmos and Windows Azure are quickly closing in. Windows Azure went from beta to release in February this year. EMC makes major marketing push for the Atmos offering at the EMC World this week. They are all competing for the cloud storage king position.

S3 may be busy defending while EMC Atmos and Windows Azure are playing offense. What kind of offensive marketing strategy have we seen? As marketing guru will predict: Find a weakness in the leader’s strength and attack at the point.


The message from the EMC World is precise and direct: The journey to the Private Cloud & hundreds of Public Cloud. S3 is used by many big internet companies as the backend storage so S3 has a strong hold in the internet companies such as Dropbox and a host of others. S3 is a dream service for internet startups and SMBs without the dreaded infrastructure cost. When these startups and SMBs grow, S3 becomes part of their infrastructure.  However, enterprises that wish to manage their own data may prefer to have their own cloud, for security and compliance reasons. Hosting companies around the world who has storage to offer may want to offer their own public cloud so they can compete with S3. It is a good offensive strategy for EMC to win customers from enterprises and hosting companies, demonstrated by the partnership from AT&T, PEER 1 and others.

While EMC is working on the enterprise and the hosting companies side, what did we see from Windows Azure? The message from Windows Azure is also loud and clear: Visual Studio 2010 release in April with tight Azure integration. While the vision from EMC World is hundreds of public cloud, the vision from Windows Azure Visual Studio integration may be hundreds of thousands of cloud-enabled apps. You probably won’t find an easier way to write a cloud-enabled app without Visual Studio 2010, backed by Windows Azure. So Windows Azure find its strength in the developer community.   It takes time but the developers will take Windows Azure into enterprises, into hosting companies and into internet startup companies. In a sense, Azure competes more directly with S3 while EMC Atmos reaching out for new land in the enterprises.

With big brand names like Amazon, EMC and Microsoft behind each of their cloud storage offerings, it is most likely we will see all of them compete well and grow well at the same time. This is certainly our vision at Gladinet to see multiple cloud offerings co-exist, compete and grow, which makes Gladinet as a cloud access platform all more meaningful.

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