Tag Archives | storage

Cloud storage prices keep dropping – Comparing Amazon, Google and Rackspace

Hard drive vs cloudAmazon has just announced another decrease for their standard cloud storage customers. This is their fifth in five years and it reinforces the attractiveness of using the cloud to store an organization’s data.

Amazon says in their announcement “With this price change, all Amazon S3 standard storage customers will see a significant reduction in their storage costs. For instance, if you store 50 TB (terrabytes) of data on average you will see a 12% reduction in your storage costs, and if you store 500 TB of data on average you will see a 13.5% reduction in your storage costs.will see a significant reduction in their storage costs.”

That sounds good, but it’s important to dig in a little. A terrabyte (TB) is 1024 gigabytes (GB), which is 1024 megabytes (MB). New laptops are now delivered with 1 TB disks. In very round numbers, a TB of storage will hold about 200,000 high-resolution photos, 100,000 large Power Point presentations, 250,000 songs or 350 HD movies. While data storage needs are growing rapidly in all organizations, most small to medium size organizations will not need anywhere near 50 TB, even if they move all of their data into the cloud.

So how do Amazon’s prices compare with the two other big providers, Rackspace and Google, for typical amounts of data? Here’s a table of monthly storage costs constructed using the current published prices:

Company –– 1TB (1,024 GB) –– 10TB (10,240 GB) –– 50TB (51,200 GB)

For small amounts of data, the differences are not large and remain close for the normal storage needs of many small to medium sized organizations. As the amount of data stored increases, Google compares favorably with Amazon, and is in fact slightly lower at 50 TB. Prices for Rackspace increase faster as the amount of data stored increases and are well above Google and Amazon at the 50 TB mark.

Price is not the only consideration when considering the use of cloud-based file storage, but it’s an important one. Amazon’s announcement will put pressure on the other providers to come down as well and continue to increase the attractiveness of storing data securely offsite where it can be accessed by and used by anyone who needs it.

The sources are: Google cloud storage pricing, Rackspace pricing calculator and Amazon web services blog.

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The 2010 Digital Forest: Any Data, Any Time, Any Place

Written for Unlimited Priorities and DCLnews Blog

Richard Oppenheim

Richard Oppenheim

As 2010 fades away, let’s take a short look at the technology products and services that will continue to impact our business and personal activities. With marketing, both professional and viral, in full work mode, it is likely that you already heard about most of these 2010 developments. Every development is built on what has been engineered over the past decade. This does not mean that there is nothing new. Rather, it is to say that we are using stuff a whole lot more.

A lot of what happened this year is an evolution of developments from prior years: 3D movies are hot, 3D television is beginning, smartphones are getting smarter, the Apps flood continues, e-books are outselling paper books, e-book readers and software are growing, YouTube and Facebook are having substantial user growth, Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere and new gadgets for everyone from babies to seniors are in stores and online.

It started with sortable punched card, moved to computer mainframes and transformed electronics with the Bowmar calculator and digital watch. This year, the growth of everything digital can be seen, heard and transmitted from any place to any place. Pictures from the Cassini satellite orbiting Saturn 2 billion miles away are fascinating and a long distance photo op. Mars is a little closer. The Rovers were supposed to work for three months and they are in their sixth year. Digital photography with its instant access is changing the landscape of entertainment, news reporting and information sharing.

It is the new age of the candid camera as scientists, explorers, E-reporters, movie makers, amateur videographers, family photographers, musicians, students, teachers and lots of others share digital pictures from around the globe and far out into space. Digital is also impacting what we do with what we say. Instant messaging, text messaging, and email is replacing lots of voice to voice communications.

In the second quarter of 2010, the Nielsen Company analyzed mobile usage data for teens in the United States. American teens may not be texting all the time, however, this survey discovered that, on average, they send or receive 3,339 texts a month, more than six per every waking hour, an 8% jump from last year. (Source: blog.nielsen.com)

The survey also showed that a few years ago, the major reason for a cell phone was security. Today, 43% claim texting is their primary reason for getting a cellphone. For the young users, texting is a lot faster than voice calls. While voice interaction rises and peaks at age 24, only adults over 55 talk less than teens. Teen females, who are more social with their phones, average about 753 minutes per month, while males use around 525 minutes.

The volume of images, videos, audio, documents are at an ever increasing rate.

  • People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
  • Nielsen reports that YouTube is pushing out about 1.2 billion streams every day!
  • Family and business pictures are uploaded to web based albums for viewing and printing.
  • PDF files attached to emails are replacing fax transmissions.
  • On-line storage is used for sharing information from calendars to reports.
  • Cloud/web based applications support business applications.
  • E-commerce means that companies can display their inventory on-line and sell direct.
  • Maps and directions display roads and traffic up to the minute.
  • Music libraries have replaced turntables for vinyl records and CDs.
  • On October 6, 2010, Twitter announced processing of more than 86 million tweets each day.
  • over 1,000 TPS (Tweets per second)
  • 12,000 QPS (queries per second)
  • over 1 billion queries per day

(Source: engineering.twitter.com)

The volume of content is growing exponentially. According to UC, San Diego, every day, more than 34GB of information passes before our eyes that we consciously or unconsciously process. Whether it’s in the clouds, in your office, on your home server or in your portable whatever device, the sound of data traffic grows louder. The need for ever larger data file cabinets is obvious.

Data Storage Disk

The old file storage – letter, legal, albums, 3 ring binders, red ties, and file folders were okay for paper. The new digital data volumes need the new data storage. This table shows the terms for measuring data volume.

Currently, new computers have a minimum 160GB capacity for internal hard drives. External hard drives with a capacity of 1 terabyte are now under $100.

1 Bit=Binary Digit
8 Bits=1 Byte
1000 Bytes=1 Kilobyte
1000 Kilobytes=1 Megabyte
1000 Megabytes=1 Gigabyte
1000 Gigabytes=1 Terabyte
1000 Terabytes=1 Petabyte
1000 Petabytes=1 Exabyte
1000 Exabytes=1 Zettabyte
1000 Zettabytes=1 Yottabyte
1000 Yottabytes=1 Brontobyte
1000 Brontobytes=1 Geopbyte

Mobile as a Lifestyle

The integration of wireless capabilities with brick and mortar commercial locations took large leaps forward this year. In the beginning, Wi-Fi was only available with paid subscriptions or pay per hour fee. While there are exceptions, most commercial locations – hospitals, hotels, airports, etc – have free Wi-Fi. This year, Starbucks changed its policy and made Wi-Fi connections free and accessible. In October, the Starbucks Digital Network was added with exclusive content. This network is in partnership with Yahoo, which means more exclusive web services will be added.

According to a Pew Research survey, lots of mobile gadgets are being purchased. (Source: pewresearch.org)

  • 85% of all Americans own a cell phone.
  • 96% of 18-to-29 year olds own a cell phone.
  • 76% of Americans own either a desktop or a laptop computer.
  • 47% of American adults own an mp3 player such as an iPod.
  • 42% of Americans own a home gaming device.
  • 62% of online users watched video through a sharing site in April.
  • 19% of users also download podcasts.

With video becoming the major growth area of the web, devices and communication lines will have to be able to handle this increased traffic volume. With easy access to a network, Apps will drive the next set of computing use. New services that have in-app commerce transactions will become the driver for new Web sites.

While most folks (41%, according to Accenture) use their devices for phone calls, everyone loves the Apps on their handset. Total Apps continue to expand. As of this writing, Apple has 280k, Android 100k. This is a growth market, over $17.5 Billion has been spent in app downloads.

Smarter Smartphones

The major equipment announcements always are led by a single product that creates the demand for copycat development. This happened with microcomputers (Apple, IBM, Compaq, Osborne, Radio Shack, et al), cellular phones (Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, Ericsson, et al). The growing world of Smartphones is still led by Apple’s iPhone but there is a growing list of vendors.

Apple’s iPhone was available for sale on June 29, 2007 with long lines of people waiting to be among the first. Many camped out overnight. This year, on June 24, Apple delivered the next upgrade to this line, the iPhone 4. For the third quarter of 2010, AT&T reported activating 5.2 million iPhones, the largest number of iPhone activations in any quarter to date.

Google’s Android operating system and Microsoft’s Win 7 Mobile are chasing Apple’s iOS 4. The race is skewed to Apple, as they still hold the mindshare for innovative products. Blackberry and Palm, now owned by HP, are playing catch up. Motorola and Verizon released the Droid X in July of 2010. Verizon and Samsung have announced the release of the Samsung Fascinate for the fall of 2010.

The Tablet

The major consumer product announce in 2010 was Apple’s iPad. Other companies had developed touchscreen technology, such as Microsoft’s Surface technology. CNN, other news programs, and every forensic crime show have them. The iPad created a whole new consumer category and a lot of public interest. Currently, 25-30 other tablets are in the pipeline. Samsung and Blackberry have been announced. Others are on the way. iPad distribution will not only be at the Apple store and website this Christmas, as new outlets distributing it will include Wal-Mart, Target, AT&T, and Verizon.

Tablets are used for games, entertainment and, especially for the younger set, a laptop replacement. The growth of tablets with expanded wireless networks and digital content is having a huge impact. The iPad is the fastest-selling tech device in history. According to Bernstein Research, the iPad has sold an estimated 8.5 million units and having a measurable effect on PC sales. An October report by Gartner predicts that tablet devices used to access media will reach sales of 19.5 million units in 2010. Gartner also predicted that sales would reach a staggering 150 million units by 2013. (Source: gartner.com)

Eye Test

The range of screen sizes may require an eye test to determine which screen size is right for what we want to do. Smartphones typically have 3–3.5 inch screens, the iPad’s LED-backlit display is 9.7-inches. Research in Motion announced that its new Blackberry Playbook tablet screen will be only 7 inches. Samsung’s Galaxy tablet also touts a 7-inch screen. The HP Slate, which is geared towards business professionals, will have an 8.9-inch touchscreen.

Computer netbooks have a 7 inch screen, laptops range from 13 – 17 inches. External monitors are typically 20 – 27 inches. Attaching one extra monitor is standard today. Adding two monitors would provide 3 screens to display a lot of information from multiple applications.

For the home entertainment center, flat panel displays are getting better. 60 inch screens are in the $2,000 range. There are a few 100 inch screens – for $100,000. High definition and 3D will drive this market and prices will range from just under $1,000 to bundles in the $7-8,000 range. Several vendors, such as Sony, LG and Panasonic are delivering full systems complete with internet access to movie sites.

Computer vendors are delivering television enabled boxes as stand-alone (Apple, Logitech) or built into the television (Google, Netflix) that will provide internet and movie access.

PBS announced the beta launch of a new PBS.org, featuring local content from member stations. The launch includes the release of PBS for iPad and the PBS App for the iPhone and iPod Touch. PBS states that it wants to become a multi-platform media leader, delivering programs through television, mobile devices, the Web, and other platforms, such as classroom interactive whiteboards.

The Social World

Social media is not new this year. The growth of the big and little players needs to be recognized. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitters have millions of members with most consumers using all three sites. These sites are a growing resource for 1 to 1 and 1 to many communications. They are changing the way mailing lists and marketing messages are being used.

Other Items of Note

  • Microsoft: Windows 7 OS celebrated birthday #1 (10/22) with the announcement that it has sold over 240 million copies. Office 2010 full product was released, receiving lots of praise.
  • Cloud computing has everyone’s attention – IBM, HP, Google, Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, AT&T, others.
  • Nanotechnology is a very hot area of science and engineering, for many applications, most notably medical. Learn about the tiny world of Microbots and Nanobots.
  • While electric cars are still a small percentage of car sales, they are on everyone’s radar. Tesla is delivering its sports car, Chevrolet Volt has been demonstrated, and Toyota Prius hybrids draw customer praise. Even the diminutive Smart Car has announced an electric model.
  • Alternative energy developers will get a boost from Google’s $5 Billion commitment to an offshore wind farm.

The flood of digital data will deliver more to watch, more to read, more to store and file. We have choices to make to avoid being strangled by data overload. We can all join hands, virtually, and seek wisdom as to what works best for us this month. There must be an App for that.

About the Author

Richard Oppenheim, CPA, blends business, technology and writing competence with a passion to help individuals and businesses get unstuck from the obstacles preventing their moving ahead. He is a member of the Unlimited Priorities team. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/richinsight.

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