I keep reading about more uses of the cloud and it all makes sense. Now it is moving from the business world to the consumer world. Although aspects of the cloud have long been in the consumer world also. As Brandon Butler writes in Network World, Gartner predicts that 1/3 of consumer data will be stored in the cloud by '16. Social media sites like Facebook are the near-term repositories for cloud-based data storage, but other vendors will have opportunities to grab consumer market share, Gartner predicts
Now only about 7% of personal data is stored in the cloud. However, Gartner researchers note that the ability for consumers to capture data on their smartphones and tablets, using cameras and video recording devices, will drive the data storage requirements beyond the capacity of a personal computer hard drive or an external hard drive. In addition, the arrival of technology allowing data to be automatically uploaded to the cloud, supports their predict that 36% of consumer data will be stored in the cloud within four years.
Brandon quotes Gartner principal research analyst Shalini Verma, "Cloud storage will grow with the emergence of the personal cloud, which in turn will simplify the direct-to-cloud model, allowing users to directly store user-generated content in the cloud. As storage becomes a part of the personal cloud, it will become further commoditized. Therefore, online storage and sync companies need to have a strategic rethink about their future approach."
One vendor to take advantage of this trend in Carbonite. Carbonite provides online backups for your personal computer. It works in the background when you are connected to the Web but not using a Web application so as to not reduce performance. I spoke with David Friend, CEO of Boston-based Carbonite in 2008. He got the idea when a series of mishaps occurred in 2005. David looked into the market research and found that for consumers and small businesses only 3% do a good job of backing up files. When people have to actively do something like export files to an external hard drive, they generally do not do it. So he and his partner, Jeff Flowers, designed an online backup service that works in the background with the price point of $50 a year for unlimited storage.
David said they have now backed up over 3.5 billion files and are adding 32 million files a day and this was 2008. The company had double digit month over month revenue growth for the past 22 months at that time. I see their ads on TV now and I am sure they are continuing to grow. I still use an external drive for back up but I may add the cloud for redundacy.