There are several different types of storage clouds available.
- Basic direct-to-user service: A host of cloud storage providers sell basic cloud storage service direct to consumers and businesses, which can upload data files and sometimes directories over the Internet to a shared infrastructure, recover or restore those files as needed from anywhere, and in some cases share their data with authorized users via some sort of electronic key.
- One common feature of these basic services is automated backups, which are important because the biggest weakness in any backup process is ensuring a backup is actually done.
- Customers may pay a flat monthly or yearly fee, a per-gigabyte fee for the storage, or a combination of flat fee for a certain amount of storage followed by a per-gigabyte fee for storage beyond that amount.
- Basic backup services for resellers and service providers: Several of the basic cloud storage providers allow solution providers or managed service providers to resell the services either using the cloud provider's or the reseller's brand name. Examples include two of the more well-known business storage cloud providers, Mozy and Carbonite.
- Solution providers reselling such services do so in exchange for a portion of the monthly or yearly fee or for a one-time finder’s fee. Such an arrangement gives the service providers access to a wider range of potential customers. For solution providers, the primary benefit will be recurring monthly revenue with little or no up-front investment in IT infrastructures.
- Cloud storage appliances: A number of vendors, including the likes of eFolder, provide an appliance or software to build an appliance that solution providers can use to build their own storage cloud, along with the software necessary to provide the service to customers and automate tasks such as billing and monitoring customer data usage.
NEXT: A Myriad Of Ways To Build Storage Clouds