Cloudy with a chance of ...

Dave Simpson

From the beginning, there has been confusion surrounding cloud storage, mostly around the definition.

Definitions still vary from vendor to vendor and user to user, but most IT professionals generally understand it. The confusion today relates to the level of end-user interest in cloud storage, whether it's internal or external (hosted).

Judging from the avalanche of press releases and new entrants in the market (seemingly a new player per week), one would assume that cloud storage is hands-down the hottest technology trend in the storage industry. So hot that the Storage Networking Industry Association has formed a group to establish standards for this emerging market (see "SNIA develops standards for cloud storage").

As with all of the SNIA standards efforts, the jury is out regarding whether this will be successful, although it's a laudable effort because cloud storage is definitely a market where you don't want vendor lock-in.

However, according to a Forrester Research survey of 1,272 IT professionals, there seems to be a lack of interest in cloud storage – at least external cloud storage (aka hosted storage, storage-as-a-service, etc.).

In the Forrester survey, 43% of the IT professionals said that they were not interested in external cloud storage and about the same percentage said that they were interested in it but had no plans to adopt it (see cover story, "Users lukewarm on cloud storage"). And very few have implemented it or have plans to deploy it in the near future.

Forrester analyst Andrew Reichman says that the key barriers to end-user adoption of cloud storage include concerns about guaranteed service levels, security, chain of custody, shared tenancy, and long-term pricing (just one aspect of the vendor lock-in problem).

If you are interested in cloud storage, you can stay on top of services and product offerings at infostor.com's Cloud Storage Topic Center, which also includes feature articles and guidelines on implementation.

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This article was originally published on March 01, 2010