Google Storage Offering / Microsoft SkyDrive
By pmonday on Aug 13, 2007
I don't think anyone would argue that Google is one of the masters of Web 2.0. One thing that Google does particularly "Web 2.0" is the Perpetual Beta. They release code early, they release code often, and more often than not, the application is a glimmer of what "could be" rather than the all-conquering application that is.
Google's Storage Offering is one of those things that could be. With the wealth of APIs available (including a Google Data APIs, Google Web Toolkit and a Picasa Web Albums Data API, the new storage offering has more than enough potential for conquering the world.
But, lo and behold, true to the Web 2.0 roots, the first outing for Google's Storage Offering only "integrates" the Gmail application and the Picasa Web Albums storage (so that both applications can access the same storage). Obviously, Google is moving to a consolidated storage / application model rather than separate stovepipes...though I have to question making people pay for this feature (free storage in the two applications is still stovepiped). In addition to "integrated" storage, you also get more storage.
So, as of right now, the model for Google Storage pricing is different from Amazon.com's pricing. In a way, this is an apples to oranges comparison as the accessibility of the storage is different (Google is accessed THROUGH an application and Amazon is accessed BY an application). I can ONLY assume that there will be parity in writing to a data API at some time (though I believe the capabilities of the data API will be slightly different).
Recall that Amazon.com's pricing is $0.15 per GB per month with a bandwidth price of $0.10 / GB data transfer in and tiered pricing for data out ($0.18 for < 10GB,
The cost of Google storage is $20/year for 6GB, &75/year for 25GB, $250/year for 100GB and $500/year for 250GB. Because there is no "application" API at this time, it makes sense there is no bandwidth charge.
Its very, very difficult to make a comparison here, but at the 6GB cost per year (assume 12 GB of inbound data and maybe 18GB of outbound data), you end up with $20 for Google and $15.24 for Amazon.com. But, again, what you can do with that storage is radically different so its really not even a fair comparison. Today, you would choose your provider based on your needs (do you use Google apps, then buy storage from Google, do you want to write an application that requires storage, then you would use Amazon.com).
Will Google give access to the storage from the Google Data API, I have to assume so...some day.
Architecturally, if you make the assumption you can switch from Amazon.com as your application storage provider to Google storage at some point in the future, you will need to build an adapter/model layer in your application so you can plug in the Google API as a target (assuming there is a level of parity in the API capabilities).
Finally, I have to briefly mention Microsoft's SkyDrive Beta. SkyDrive is a web-based application that you can sign up for with a Microsoft Live Account. It provides 500 MB storage with a web-based interface for dragging and dropping files. There doesn't appear to be a CIFS API yet for you to mount it on a machine and use it seamlessly, but you can almost guess this is in the works. But, keep in mind SkyDrive is just part of a suite of applications for sharing that Microsoft Live puts out (also includes a Photo Gallery, Blogs, EMail, Maps, Search, etc...). Its pretty obvious when you put the storage offerings from Google and Microsoft in perspective, they are simply ways to enhance their web application/desktop efforts! Microsoft Live + XBox 360 can extend Microsoft into your living room, is Google looking for this extension? (Remember, Amazon is already in your living room with its movie service via Tivo).
Perhaps a year from now, we will be looking at two different "APIs" for accessing your online storage utility:
- CIFS/NFS for use with normal File I/O libraries
- Application-aware interfaces (such as Amazon.com and our own StorageTek 5800 Storage System)
Where will Google land (if it lands?), both? Data API and CIFS/NFS?
The next few years will prove interesting as the apps and storage come into your house via so many different access points (consoles, phones, PCs, DVRs, etc...).
Wow, somehow an apples to apples comparison of storage utilities (of course, by definition, the only "storage utility" here is Amazon's) turned into an online application blog post?????? What's with that?