Although storage and cloud services seem like a natural fit for each other, they don’t seem to be faring very well as a business proposition. Cirtas Systems appears to be on the ropes, according to a story posted by The Register‘s Chris Mellor on April 25, while earlier in April, Iron Mountain stopped accepting customers for its cloud-based storage offering.
Cirtas Systems logo
- Cloud storage specialists Cirtas laid off a score of engineering staff this week; with Iron Mountain in the process of cashing out, what does that say about the business?
I can understand why the cloud looks appealing, but I also understand people’s reluctance to trust their data to an off-premises service. Even when it’s just archival data that you’re saving “just in case,” it’s more comforting to be able to point to a disk array when asked “Where is it?”
The problem I see ahead for a lot of companies that want to be in the cloud storage business is that it’s a frightfully expensive one to be in. When you consider how much storage you can get for around $35,000, of course there will be greater capacity in today’s disk array than there would have been five years ago, although the basics of a disk array haven’t changed significantly in the last 15 years.
But electricity isn’t any less expensive than it was five years ago; facilities might be cheaper than they were then, but I bet not. Staff? That could be a problem; although generalist sysadmins appear to be a dime a dozen, what’s needed in these positions is a level of familiarity with storage networking that just isn’t that common; I suspect that the engineering team that Cirtas laid off will be snapped up quickly enough.
The cloud storage business may hold promise, but it’s not one where a lot of money is going to be made in a rush. I can’t imagine what’s going to cause that to change any time soon.