When it comes to data center expertise, many tech professionals would say that Amazon , Google , Microsoft , and yes, Facebook are driving most of innovation. These companies design much of the hardware and software that they run in their own massive data centers.
There’s no arguing with that perception, but make no mistake: The big cloud players don’t have a monopoly on data center disruption, according to Al Sadowsky, research vice president for 451 Research. Instead, a raft of other, smaller players are doing their bit to make data centers more efficient, more adaptable, and easier to manage.
That’s important to remember, because while many corporate applications are moving to a public cloud like Amazon ( amzn ) Web Services or Microsoft ( msft ) Azure, we are still early in the cloud era and many businesses still want to control their own infrastructure for some jobs.
Sadowski cites the work that Equinix ( eqix ) is doing with its home-grown data center management software . This software gives customers a view into how their workloads are operating and the physical conditions at the various Equinix facilities. Equinix operates about 179 data centers around the world used by many customers.
Get Data Sheet, Fortunes technology newsletter.
But there are other interesting infrastructure plays out there. Backblaze is a feisty startup that made waves by claiming to store customers’ archival data storage data cheaper than any of the name-brand cloud providers. (Anecdotal accounts from customers back that up.) The company builds its own storage hardware to facilitate that and has even made the design specifications available to anyone who wants to build their own.
The San Mateo, Calif. company launched its B2 storage service a year ago , and many are impressed. Because Backblaze specializes in data backup, it has a set usage pattern which lets it tailor its offering for that sort of work, says Sebastian Stadil, CEO of Scalr, a San Francisco cloud monitoring company.The newer B2 service, however, can be used for any sort of storage, Backblaze CEO Gleb Budman told Fortune .
“Since the work is so specific and constant, Backblaze can be optimized for it, while Amazon’s S3 storage has to accommodate lots of different use cases including sudden spikes and traffic bursts,” he said.
Cloud storage provider Dropbox is also innovating. Up until last year, Dropbox user data had resided in Amazon’s cloud. But is now in Dropbox data centers in the U.S. Last week the company said it is rolling out a worldwide private network and load balancers of its own to speed file access for the 75% of its half-billion users living outside the U.S. (Dropbox still uses AWS data centers in countries that mandate that user data stay local.)
Most of us know Netflix ( nflx ) as the leader in streaming video. But the company has also made a name for itself among techies for a building a set of key software tools that help it run on AWS more efficiently. Netflix itself finished its transition to AWS servers last year, and has made a practice of filling gaps in those services with its own software, which is available on Github, a sort of library for freely available software.
Here’s What LinkedIn Could Mean for Microsoft Cloud
LinkedIn earns mentioneven though it is now owned by Microsoft because it still seems to be pursuing its own data center agenda. It is, for example, backing the Open19 Foundation, a group that is pushing companies to build a new generation of data center hardware that will fit into existing data center racks.
As my colleague Jonathan Vanian wrote last month, businesses use the racks to house their servers and routers. Since that gear tends to be stacked one atop the other, its important to have a standard rack for those devices. Complicating matters is that another standard from the Open Compute Foundation , backed by Facebook ( fb ) , Google ( goog ) , as well as LinkedIn parent Microsoft, is about building larger servers which will not fit into that mold.
As Yuval Bashar, LinkedIn principal engineer and president of Open19 told Fortune , the Open Compute Foundation may be great for the biggest of the big web companies like Google but is less applicable for the many smaller businesses that still run their own data centers.
Note: (June 30, 2017 8:23 p.m. ET) This story was updated to add Backblaze comment.
- Samsung Cloud - November 22nd, 2018
- Cloud Storage Cost Comparison: Which One Is Best? - November 19th, 2018
- Cloud Storage on Your Windows 10 PC - dummies - November 19th, 2018
- What is Cloud Storage,How Does It Work,Its Benefits & Uses ... - November 1st, 2018
- The best free cloud storage service 2018 | TechRadar - October 8th, 2018
- AT&T Cloud Storage - AT&T Cloud Services - October 8th, 2018
- Cloud Storage | Team Knowhow - August 15th, 2018
- The Best Cloud Storage Services for Backup in 2018 - August 13th, 2018
- Amazon Drive - June 30th, 2018
- Cloud Storage Pricing | S3 Pricing by Region | Amazon ... - June 24th, 2018
- Azure Cloud Storage Solutions and Services | Microsoft Azure - May 28th, 2018
- Cloud Storage Pricing | Cloud Storage Documentation ... - May 10th, 2018
- Understanding cloud storage services: A guide for beginners - May 1st, 2018
- Foscam Cloud - April 7th, 2018
- Data Storage - Flash Storage, NAS, Object ... - Dell EMC US - April 7th, 2018
- Best Cloud Storage Providers 2017 Reviewed & Rated - December 13th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Topics - SearchCloudStorage - October 18th, 2017
- Cloud Storage - 2017 News, Articles and Trends - Tom's IT Pro - October 18th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Pricing Comparison: AWS, Azure, Google, and B2 - October 18th, 2017
- 18 free cloud storage options | Network World - September 19th, 2017
- Best Cloud Storage Solutions For Your Small Business - CBS Chicago - CBS Chicago - September 7th, 2017
- How Secure Is Cloud-Based Data Storage? - HuffPost - September 7th, 2017
- Best Cloud Storage Solutions For Your Small Business - CBS Detroit - September 7th, 2017
- Deals: A Lifetime Of 2TB Cloud Storage For 90% Off - Gizmodo Australia - September 7th, 2017
- Microsoft Azure: 8 Ways to Save on Cloud Storage - Enterprise Storage Forum - September 2nd, 2017
- There's a lot more to the Cloud than storage these days and competition is getting crowded - Financial Post - September 2nd, 2017
- Cloud storage provider Box's revenue rises as growth slows - Reuters - August 31st, 2017
- Whatchu doin' Upthere? Western Digital moves on cloud storage space - The Register - August 30th, 2017
- pCloud First Cloud Storage Provider to Offer Lifetime Plan | 08/29/17 ... - Markets Insider - August 30th, 2017
- Nearly 300 years worth of porn was recorded to test Amazon's ... - Neowin - August 30th, 2017
- Western Digital (WDC) Acquires Cloud-Storage Startup Upthere - Nasdaq - August 29th, 2017
- Faction Partners with CoreSite to Launch Multi-Cloud Storage and ... - Business Wire (press release) - August 29th, 2017
- A Man Backing Up Millions Of GB Of Porn May Have Ended ... - Indiatimes.com - August 29th, 2017
- pCloud First Cloud Storage Provider to Offer Lifetime Plan - PR Newswire (press release) - August 29th, 2017
- Person tests Amazon's "unlimited" cloud storage by uploading 1.8 petabytes of porn - Boing Boing - August 27th, 2017
- Hedvig Advances Private, Hybrid and Multi-cloud Storage with New Integrations, Security, and All-flash Capabilities - insideBIGDATA - August 27th, 2017
- Why Storage Companies Are Partnering with Microsoft Azure for ... - Enterprise Storage Forum - August 26th, 2017
- Microsoft Unveils Cost-Cutting Archival Cloud Storage Option - eWeek - August 25th, 2017
- A Redditor Archived Nearly 2 Million Gigabytes of Porn to Test Amazon's 'Unlimited' Cloud Storage - Motherboard - August 25th, 2017
- Back up everything with lifetime 2TB cloud storage for under $50 - Popular Science - August 25th, 2017
- Google Cloud: How to Reduce Data Storage Costs and Maximize Performance - Enterprise Storage Forum - August 23rd, 2017
- Enterprises Encounter Cloud Storage Cost and Management Challenges - Enterprise Storage Forum - August 23rd, 2017
- Cisco Validates SwiftStack's hybrid cloud storage software - Read IT Quik - August 23rd, 2017
- Another Free Data Backup Option Bites The Dust - Fortune - August 22nd, 2017
- Apollo Cloud 2 Duo offers personal cloud storage with no monthly fees - Techaeris - August 22nd, 2017
- pCloud first cloud storage provider to offer lifetime plan - PRUnderground (press release) - August 22nd, 2017
- Top 5 tips for doing a cloud storage cost analysis - Information Age - August 21st, 2017
- How offsite solutions can complement NAS setups - The Register - August 21st, 2017
- BBB Tip of the Week: What to look for in cloud storage - The Spokesman-Review - August 20th, 2017
- Get 2 TB of Cloud Storage from Zoolz for Life for Just $50 - The Escapist - August 20th, 2017
- Optimize a public cloud storage service with these performance tips - TechTarget - August 19th, 2017
- XenData Launches Hybrid Cloud Storage Appliance Optimized for Media Files - Broadcasting & Cable - August 16th, 2017
- Lima Ultra: Tiny, personal cloud storage which just misses the mark - ZDNet - August 16th, 2017
- Secure 2TBs of cloud storage space for life for under $50 - TNW - August 16th, 2017
- Results: do you pay for extra cloud storage? How much do you need? - Phone Arena - August 16th, 2017
- XenData Debuts CX-10 Hybrid Cloud Storage Appliance - TV Technology - August 16th, 2017
- Datrium Splits Provisioning to Boost Private Cloud Storage - SDxCentral - August 16th, 2017
- Migrating from server to cloud storage - THE BUSINESS TIMES - August 16th, 2017
- Film maker shuns cloud storage for Spectra Logic tape - ComputerWeekly.com - August 14th, 2017
- NetApp Has Better Storage Trends than Pure, Says Maxim - Barron's - August 14th, 2017
- Cloud Backup vs Local Backup Which Option Should I Choose To Protect My Data? - Fossbytes - August 14th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Works Better With Cloud Secure! - MustTech News - August 13th, 2017
- UPDATE -- Maxwell Health Reduces Cloud Storage Costs and Reduces Recovery Times with Datos IO RecoverX for ... - GlobeNewswire (press release) - August 12th, 2017
- Cloud Storage: Mature Saturation or Early Adopter Phase? | Hacked ... - Hacked - August 10th, 2017
- How To Have Cloud Storage and Backup For Life For Less - Daily Beast - August 10th, 2017
- Wasabi Technologies takes on Amazon S3 on price, performance - TechTarget - August 8th, 2017
- Here's one good reason to not rely on cloud storage - Business Insider Australia - August 6th, 2017
- Veritas Technologies Named a Leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery ... - Markets Insider - August 6th, 2017
- Microsoft wants your cloud storage to sleep with the fishes, literally - Digital Trends - August 5th, 2017
- MEGA Privacy brings 50GB of free cloud storage space to Windows 10 - Windows Report - August 5th, 2017
- Team sets new record for magnetic tape storagemakes tape competitive for cloud storage - Phys.Org - August 3rd, 2017
- Attala Systems Announces Its High Performance Composable Storage Infrastructure Technology for Cloud and Analytics - PR Newswire (press release) - August 3rd, 2017
- Hybrid cloud technology gets the most out of primary storage workloads - TechTarget - August 2nd, 2017
- IBM and Sony breakthrough on tape storage density could lower cold storage costs again - GeekWire - August 2nd, 2017
- Mega's beta cloud storage app for Windows 10 now open to ... - Windows Central - August 1st, 2017
- Startup Morro Data launches CloudNAS services for SMBs - TechTarget - August 1st, 2017
- Morro Data Announces CloudNAS | StorageReview.com - Storage ... - StorageReview.com - August 1st, 2017
- IBM deprecates its first cloud storage platform - www.computing.co.uk - July 31st, 2017
- Senate Resurrects Cloud Storage Protections Bill | Broadcasting ... - Broadcasting & Cable - July 31st, 2017
- Geared up to make best use of cloud storage, AI: Naidu - The Hindu - July 31st, 2017