Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Google's GDrive Cloud Storage Offering "Coming Soon"

There has been a lot of talk this week about a new cloud storage service being rolled out by Google as part of their Google App Engine offering. The announcement was part of a presentation at the Interop Conference in Las Vegas, by Mike Repass, Product Manager at Google who indicated it would be made available 'within weeks'.

During the presentation, Repass said, "We started out Google AppEngine as an abstract virtualization service. Our static content solution is something we're shipping soon."

He didn't provide much detail into what the interface or cost model would be used, but it is widely believed that it will be offered as part of Google's expanding App Engine platform -- building upon a similar quota based cost model currently in place for App Engine.

I find it interesting that a few industry pundants have been reporting the so called Google "Gdrive" as a "S3 killer", but in reality this may very well help strengthen S3 by providing yet another point of cloud redundancy. I think a potential opportunity is to think of Gdrive as part of a larger Redundant Array of Cloud Storage Providers (RACS) or (Cloud RAID), where your storage is dispersed among a global pool of cloud providers.

Google isn't the only one getting into the cloud storage business, recently Canonical, the commercial company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, has announced plans to offer a Cloud based storage service called Ubuntu One. Which can be loosly described as a desktop Dropbox where you can sync your files, share your work with others or work remotely.

Moving forward I believe we are about about to see the emergence of a "Cloud RAID" model where you are able connect multiple remote cloud storage services (S3, Nirvanix, CloudFS, GDrive) in a broader data cloud. One possible Cloud RAID mechanism is the new SNIA XAM Initiative which aims to drive adoption of the eXtensible Access Method (XAM) specification as an interoperable data storage interface standard.

XAM looks to solve key cloud storage problem spots including;

  • Interoperability: Applications can work with any XAM conformant storage system; information can be migrated and shared
  • Compliance: Integrated record retention and disposition metadata
  • ILM Practices: Framework for classification, policy, and implementation
  • Migration: Ability to automate migration process to maintain long-term readability
  • Discovery: Application-independent structured discovery avoids application obsolescence

So back to GDrive, rather then describe this an Amazon S3 killer, I would describe it as a CDN killer. Akamai probably has the most to lose, not Amazon.

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