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To run such applications in the cloud will require that service providers start adopting technologies like SSDs to provide the needed performance, Wright said. And that, he said, will require service providers to start charging for storage only based on the number of gigabytes stored but on a combination of capacity and performance. "That will allow service providers to apply SLAs (service level agreements) to storage in the cloud," he said.
SSDs are still seen as very expensive when compared to hard drives in the enterprise where storage systems were built for hard drives or, more recently, expensive SLC (single level cell)-based Flash storage, Wright said. However, by building storage systems from the ground up to use less-costly MLC (multi-level cell) SSDs, the cost per gigabyte approaches that of hard disk technology while making it possible to provide a promised level of performance, he said.
A focus on a guaranteed level of performance will help drive primary storage in the cloud, Wright said. "That will make (customers) comfortable with the technology," he said. "That's something they can't even get from their own infrastructures."
Service providers also need to be concerned about the economics of running storage in the cloud from the start, something many had not been doing, Pandey said.
Pandey cited the example of Iron Mountain, which recently exited the public cloud storage business because of competition from Amazon's S3 offering less than one year after it entered the business. He also said that large storage providers like Amazon started out working with technologies from established vendors like NetApp only to later decide that they need different technologies to meet their price points.
Rodriguez said another issue is the ability of companies to sell cloud storage and the need to make sure its sales staff are compensated not just on capacity sold but on the full range of services involved in a complete solutions. "You need to sell storage services, complete solutions, where you can have 60 points of margin and pass 30 points to the channel," he said.