Cloud Storage

Top 5: Alternatives to centralized cloud services

Amazon, Box, and Google might rule the cloud now, but here are five options that could be more attractive in the future.

5 threats to centralized cloud services

Cloud services rule the day. Nothing can assail their bulletproof business models, and network services companies either compete or get out of the cloud business altogether.

But you know who else probably felt the same way? Mainframe makers.

Here are five threats to the reign of centralized cloud services:

1. Mesh networks

Many of the reasons for choosing cloud services are reliability. You need someone with big bandwidth to serve your data so you employees and clients get the data they need fast. But if mesh networks ever pan out, and don't laugh, they may, suddenly everybody everywhere could have all the bandwidth they need

2. Project Solid

This effort from Tim Berners-Lee-- you know, the guy who made the Web-- proposes to give you, the user control over your information. Personal info is stored in a container that you control. Services get access to your data when you sign up if you so approve, but they LOSE that access when you leave. Your data stays with you, not them.

SEE: Research: Cloud vs. data center adoption rates, usage, and migration plans (Tech Pro Research)

3. Resilio

From the makers of BitTorrent comes a cloud storage service that requires no servers. Each member of Resilio shares pieces of data with each other, securely, kind of like how torrents share pieces of data for file transfer. Whether Resilio or someone else does it, this could possibly topple expensive server-oriented products like Dropbox or OneDrive.

4. LBRY

Need a way to distribute video online but hate fighting the policies and faulty robots of YouTube and the like? And because it combines torrent-like file sharing with the blockchain, you can have no central servers while maintaining control of who sees your content without complicated RDM schemes.

SEE: Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

5. Customer demand

The internet has proved over and over that you can try to force them to do something you like, but if people see a better way of doing it they will eventually flock to it. Frustrations with centralized services and their capriciousness with features and prices may eventually drive people to these riskier new entrants and cause more of them to spring up.

I know I know. Dropbox and Google Drive aren't going anywhere this week. But these new approaches could prove a compelling alternative that could save your company money. At the very least we may see the Amazons and Boxes of the world start to offer their own versions of the services.

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Image: iStock/jat306
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