Storage on the Web...Generosity or Savvy Business Play?

To home users, it seems like storage is getting cheaper and cheaper. In fact, I just purchased a 160GB drive for $80, that's amazing...a buck for 2GB.  I'm running with 400GB of storage on my computers. I have most of my personal CD collection ripped, my videos that I take from my Sony DVD Camcorder, my digital pictures and more. If you're like me you start thinking, "Hey, maybe I should share some of my storage on a huge storage grid where people could get temporary storage to put stuff and they could pay me".

Well, that's a whole different tangent. With how cheap storage is to an end user, you can easily be deluded into thinking that all of the photo sites, blog sites, portals, backup sites, and more have GBs and TBs to burn. Here's a little secret, maintaining a high-availability site with storage that serves thousands of users is not trivial. Not only is there primary storage to worry about, but there is backup storage and managing the storage to ensure your paying customers have the best quality of service and all of the storage they need for their quotas. Sharing storage to 1000s, 10s of 1000s and 100s of 1000s of users is quite the expensive undertaking.

So, if storage is an expensive undertaking (and it is...), why are companies giving it away? I must have 1-2GB of storage at Kodak alone.

Capture! How many of you are loathe to switch Internet ISPs because you'll lose your email address and have to send out the evil "I've switched ISPs, blah blah blah" notes.  I know, one solution is to get an online account, like gmail or yahoo but...really...you are a bit attached to your ISP, aren't you?

Once I have all of my personal training logs at Motion Based, am I really going to uproot them and move to a different service or will I just purchase a Motion Based subscription?
And what about original content? How do I get all of my content off the site in one stroke of a button and move it to another site. It really is a pain, even for the computer savvy.

And who owns all of that information I put on company servers anyway? Let's say, hypothetically, that flikr gets bought by Yahoo! (well...maybe it did already ;-) I trusted flikr with my pictures, but did I trust Yahoo!? Its rhetorical, I didn't have much of a choice. But NOW who owns my pictures?  What about this post? If its super funny (not likely) and someone wants to pay someone for the rights to use it (less likely), who do they pay, Sun or me...or both? Have you REALLY read those copyright notifications and ownership notifications of all of your online services?

So, I have original content posted all over the web that is not even on my own personal computer anymore. It is difficult to move that original content, sometimes impossible.

Here's a tip for all of you neighborhood computer gurus that make a few bucks on the side...start getting to know the online services. When Microsoft roles out its built in virus detection and eventually gets it right, you should have a smooth transition to freeing peoples original content from one site and backing it up for them or moving it to
another site. It won't be long before Web 2.0 turns around and bites a user or two and its best to be prepared, cause guess who's getting the call from your Mom or Dad...you are oh guru of the keyboard, master of the Internet, freer of the content.

Oh, and to answer the original question...generosity or savvy business play? Obviously, the answer is savvy business play, its all about capture.

And one more thing...Web 2.0, I'll say it again...its the storage that counts. Community = Storage. Share = Storage. Participate = Storage. Storage begets more storage (online vs. nearline vs. archive vs. backup) and more sharing begets more storage.

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