EMC Mozy Chucks Unlimited Cloud Storage, Revises Pricing

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-01-31
 
 
 

Mozy, one of the first independent cloud storage services to break into both the consumer and business markets six years ago before it was bought by EMC, announced Jan. 31 that it is ditching its unlimited capacity service and revising its pricing structure for home users.

Mozy, which has been charging $4.95 per month for unlimited capacity in its MozyHome service, now will charge $5.99 per month for 50GB of storage for one personal computer. Alternatively, the company is also charging $9.99 per month for 125GB of storage for up to three PCs.

Users can add an additional PC for $2 per month or an additional 20GB of capacity for $2 per month. The new pricing for new customers started Jan. 31; the pricing changes for existing customers take place March 1.

At first glance, this looks as if it is going against an industry trend of lower prices, due to more intense competition. For example, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) last May dropped its price for its "reduced redundancy" (fewer backups) storage service to 10 cents per gigabyte per month, compared with 15 cents per gigabyte for its regular storage. The price per gigabyte at both levels decreases as users store more data.

Other services, such as SugarSync, Backblaze, DropBox, Box and Carbonite, have either lowered their prices or are offering more free capacity-usually about 5GB per account.

Competition Heating Up

It's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but Amazon told eWEEK frankly last year that there are now many more companies looking for customers in this space and that it saw a need to be more price-competitive.

"I don't know that I'm seeing this [a lowering of pricing in cloud storage due to competition], but we are seeing a change in consumer behavior," Russ Stockdale, Mozy's vice president of product management, told eWEEK.

"They [users] are creating more and more photos and videos on their cameras, their phones, etc. So their data is growing rapidly. If you're pricing on a per-gigabyte level [as Amazon S3 does], yes, storage is getting cheaper. But at the same time, that's being overwhelmed by the total growth in storage on a per-user basis, as they store more and more photos and videos.

"In particular, when the most intense users create huge libraries of them."

EMC Mozy is not overwhelmed in terms of service levels, Stockdale said, but the company believed it had to do something to deal with a minority of overzealous storage users who had been taking advantage of the unlimited capacity model.

"The average user growth rate is going up very rapidly," Stockdale said. "What's happening there is that the vast majority of users are growing at manageable rates, but a small number of users are growing at such high levels that it affects the total. In fact, the total growth in the top 10 percent is comparable to the growth in the other 90 percent."

It was an unlimited plan, so he doesn't want to sound as if this added storage activity is unfair, because it's not, Stockdale said.

"Power usage has caused the spread of usage to grow unbelievably high, and that is simply because users can now generate more content than they ever could before. A few years ago this wasn't possible. Now, you can go out to a soccer game and shoot 2GBs worth of high-def video in one afternoon," Stockdale said.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a clarification on the timing of the pricing changes.

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