These days, unless you are living in a cave, almost everyone has heard of and is using cloud in some capacity. While the initial uses of the cloud, even before the term cloud became popular were for the basic purposes like email, it has now evolved and serves many functions.
The usage of cloud, with broadband adoption moved to higher capacity and utilization for videos, documents, pictures and other types of data. Now even movies and TV shows are living essentially in the cloud as seen with the popularity of Netflix streaming, Apple TV/iTunes, Hulu among others.
Pretty soon, there would be dedicated news publications that live only in the cloud (‘Daily‘ publication for the iPad by News Corp).
Social Networks and the social graphs live in the cloud.
Online Storage and Backup, an almost hobby service through the early part of this decade is now a main-stay service with large corporations including Symantec, EMC and others are now key players in this cloud segment. Amazon S3 with its API based approach is another large player in this segment. While they certainly enjoy scale benefits that come naturally with being a large player, pure-play online backup services like our own IDrive and IBackup are holding their own with our best in the class customer service, breadth of features and reasonable pricing; then there is Carbonite with its huge pile of cash raised from VCs, and possibly the easiest online backup service that is out there is a high growth player. EMC’s Mozy has a huge footprint in the industry as well with its EMC backing and innovative service.
There is also the talk of online backup being directly integrated into Windows platform, starting with Windows 8. But this may be another 1-2 years away.
It will be interested to see how the cloud storage shapes up in this decade, and especially the backup segment. Could Microsoft be the dark horse with its integrated backup with its Azure cloud platform? Or will it be the vision of David Friend of Carbonite of making backup as ubiquitous as anti-virus services who will win the show, or would it be a fragmented play with everyone having a piece of a larger pie ?
As Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook said recently, Web is mostly an unchartered territory if you look at the next decade. We are just excited to be a player in one of the hottest segments of the web.