It is also likely the reason Microsoft last month said it is acquiring StorSimple, a startup developer of hardware appliances that provide both local storage and a gateway to cloud storage offerings.
Microsoft has yet to disclose its plans for StorSimple, but with the acquisition, it will get the ability to add a gateway to its Azure public cloud similar to that of the AWS Storage Gateway.
Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi Corp., a Cleveland, Ohio-based storage solution provider, said the AWS gateway-cached volumes sound very much like what StorSimple was doing.
Knieriemen said he could see this as a potential threat to other vendors, but for now it is more of a first step in the development of a complete business-class cloud infrastructure.
"I see this as a baby step," he said. "This focuses on storage. But take it two or three steps forward and you see converged infrastructure. Amazon already has the compute technology. With Amazon moving in this direction, it picks up the game quite a bit."
While the AWS gateway-cached volumes might not necessarily compete directly with companies like Nasuni or TwinStrata, which provide more complete offerings for customers, it does represent a serious business opportunity for the channel, Knieriemen said.
"It is curious: Who architects the solution on the end-user side?" he said. "It seems to be a big channel opportunity. Amazon doesn't have the field resources to implement it. But, it would work well with services providers."