Follow along with guest writer Eric Greenwood as he takes you through a brief history of storage device evolution, from Thomas Edison (yep, Thomas Edison) to current developments – online storage as a commodity.
When most of us hear anything regarding the concept of online storage the first thought that comes to mind is usually not anything to do with Thomas Edison. Nonetheless, if you look at the time line of storage devices and transference of information you will have to note that Thomas Edison had much to do with the invention and development of two devices, the phonograph and the motion picture camera, that has changed our way of recording, storing, and transferring information.
These devices have opened up an entirely new world of data creation and storage that had never been thought possible before. What these two contemporarily primitive devices helped to begin still has a profound impact on where we are at technologically to this day.
The phonograph and motion picture camera eventually evolved and helped to spawn what many of us fondly remember as the VHS tape which stored its data on film. Our storage needs eventually went from the VHS tape to be stored much more compactly, safely, and efficiently on DVDs, which soon evolved to become the battle between HD DVD and Blue Ray Discs with Blue Ray winning out.
These last few changes in storage mediums took place in our relatively recent past, and are what have finally lead to where we are today in the storage of our media and files.
Online storage is the new frontier of digital storage and many big internet companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, have already realized what an impact this movement is making and have joined in to play host to this area of media.
Thanks to online storage coupled together with highly efficient service companies and retailers like Netflix and Amazon we no longer even have to own and store copies of our media like we would on discs or tapes because they allow you to purchase a license and stream the digital content somewhat seamlessly over the internet to your television or computer.
The economies of scale in online storage and computing these firms provide already help to impact many companies financial statements in positive ways, which help keep these services profitable, and allow them to grow bigger and more efficient which then passes the savings back again to the consumer.
SmugMug, an online photo storage service, has even publicly reported that they have saved over $1 million in their first year of outsourcing their online storage and hosting to Amazon.com’s S3 service due to Amazon’s efficiency and having better resources to work with data than smaller firms like SmugMug have.
There is much gravity towards acceptance of a particular product when economies of scale is involved, and many online storage services are creating conditions to promote such amazing economic forces to the point that it can make a very large impact on a company’s bottom line.
In the competitive atmosphere of selling a commodity like online storage, it will always be the most efficiently run and fairly priced player that will win the most market share and bring more users into the world of online data storage.
The current frontier may be online storage how we see it now, but it is definitely not the same online storage that we will see in a decade. If Moore’s law of growth in technological advancement rings true among the online storage devices then it is only a matter of time before we see another paradigm shift and advancement in how we store our data.
People of Thomas Edison’s caliber have come and gone through the ages and if history does repeat itself then this individual won’t be found too far away from our next storage evolution.
Eric Greenwood is a technology expert whose interests range from software as a service to data analysis – Read more of his work on his blog Online Storage!