Cloud storage was once primarily thought of as a place to keep data online securely or to host a website, but tech giants increasingly want their customers to think about what can be done with the data once its put there and, of course, to pay for services that manipulate it.
Large corporations have traditionally used servers to store big quantities of data that can then be analyzed for trends or to predict results. Now the cloud is also hosting analytic programs that smaller organizations can use to get much-needed results.
For example, a car insurance company could do instant on-site assessments: agents upload photos of an accidents damage through an app to the cloud where machine learning and artificial intelligence analyze them and quickly send back a quote. That eliminates the need to return to the office where it could take hours or days to do an assessment.
Or perhaps a small medical office in a remote community wants to do a screening for diabetic retinopathy by uploading a photo of the patients eye to a cloud-based machine-learning platform. The doctor would get instant results instead of sending a patient away to a larger city for a proper diagnosis.
The demand for such applications and others that save time and bring in more revenue is growing and the tech giants want a piece of the action.
Cloud is the great equalizer. It allows very small organizations to compete with very big organizations, said Jim Lambe, Google Clouds country manager for Canada. Historically, the big organizations beat up on the small ones, but now it is the quicker organizations that are going to beat up on the slower ones.
The worldwide public cloud services market is expected to grow by 18 per cent in 2017 to US$246.8 billion, according to a report earlier this year by research company Gartner. By 2020, cloud adoption strategies are expected to influence more than 50 per cent of IT outsourcing deals.
Google has long harnessed the cloud for its own web-based services such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Docs, but the tech giant decided to double down on the space after seeing the number of other companies that want their own cloud platforms to quickly grow.
Google said it considers itself one of the few which can properly lead the space given the high upfront cost for new entrants to develop the infrastructure, such as large data centres, needed to provide cloud storage.
If you are not already an incumbent with the DNA to do this, you cant really enter this market because you have lost the last 15 years, said Brian Stevens, chief technical officer of Google Cloud, in an interview during a recent visit to the companys Toronto office.
The size of the opportunity is well understood to be massive and Google believes this is going to be one of the biggest businesses, if not the biggest business, inside of Google sometime in the future. We feel like we are really set up for it.
Its not just Google that offers the cloud for both storage and data analysis. Other major players have existed in the space for just as long, if not longer. So far they have more market share, too.
Amazon.com Inc. helped pioneer cloud-based storage platforms by creating Amazon Web Services back in 2006. Microsoft Corp.s Azure debuted in 2010 and Google Cloud Platform came along in 2011 to round out the heavyweights, but others such as IBM and speciality companies like Box Inc. have been offering cloud storage solutions as well.
Amazon, Microsoft and Google in particular emphasize their computational and large-scale advantages rather than just their ability to securely host files.
Amazon is still the juggernaut with 40-per-cent market share as of February 2017, according to Synergy Research Group, but Microsoft is growing at twice the pace.
Google is also ramping up its efforts, opening data centres in new international markets such as Canada, something Amazon and Microsoft were already doing (the latter still leads the way with a presence in 42 announced regions).
Cloud is really driving the data centre expansion strategy for Google, Stevens said. Typically, there is a longer cycle for bringing up a new data centre, but now with cloud and, for example, places like Montreal, we are bringing up new data centres in under a year, which is pretty fast paced.
In addition to opening data centres within Canada which allows companies to keep sensitive information from leaving the country, important for regulated sectors such as banking and health care Googles myriad cloud initiatives have Canadian ties.
The tech giants Waterloo, Ont., office of about 500 has long been responsible for helping with web-based services such as Gmail, so the company has been looking north of the border for expertise as it focuses more on its Google Cloud offerings.
We have teams working here on a number of different efforts within cloud that contribute to the way that the Google Cloud platform will be successful for all of the different services around the world, said Derek Phillips, an engineering director at Googles Waterloo office and an 11-year employee with the company.
The Waterloo office is a big contributor to the success of cloud and this is a really good place for us to be as we have really been looking for other ways to make a big contribution to Google, Canada and the world.
Googles Montreal office also has engineers who work on cloud-related products (and others), but Waterloos advantage is its proximity to the University of Waterloo, one of the tech giants top schools for recruitment.
Canada is well positioned as a big contributor in this space. People have heard a lot about the cloud and they dont really know exactly what it means, Phillips said. There is a lot of ways Canada can contribute here and one way is on the engineering side and being involved in what is developed, how these things come together and how it serves customers all around the world.
The battle in the cloud is still in its early stages, but it is already fierce. Companies such as Google and Microsoft are playing catch-up with Amazon, but say their platforms have more appeal because they are companies known for their machine learning, artificial intelligence and algorithms. Amazon, though the market-share leader, isnt necessarily the first company that comes to mind for big data analysis.
Google also releases the source code to some of its cloud platforms for others to see, use and build upon, hoping to create a better end product and be recognized as a company that cares about the space, even if that means people take the code to a competitors service.
The company said it is important to be welcomed in the open-source community first and then business will follow.
We could have just said we have the best machine learning technology and you can only use it on Google Cloud. Instead we said no, we are going to open it up, Stevens said, adding that the response has been positive.
That gets you to a place where it has long-term sustainable impact for the end user and for us.
- 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
- 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
- Hybrid Cloud Gives Government Flexibility for Storage Needs [#Infographic] - FedTech Magazine - July 12th, 2017
- Scality Zenko.io brings hybrid cloud storage virtualisation - ComputerWeekly.com - July 12th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Privacy Policies: What It All Means - Cloudwards - July 12th, 2017
- Quantum to Present on Cloud Storage for Media Workflows at SMPTE17 in Sydney - Below the Line - July 12th, 2017
- Security lapse leaks data from millions of Verizon customers - KKTV 11 News - July 12th, 2017