found consumer adoption of cloud services to have passed 375
million users in June, putting the market 75 percent of the way
toward its year-end estimate of 500 million.
Consumer adoption of cloud storage services is exceeding
expectations, according to an Oct. 15 report from
IHS iSuppli. By the end of June, the research firm found
personal subscriptions to such services to have exceeded 375
million users-a figure that put the market already 75 percent of
the way toward IHS' full-year estimate of 500 million users.
Because of the
relative newness of cloud technologies, no adoption figures exist
for 2011, according to IHS, though best guesses are around 150
million. IHS expects subscriptions to climb to 625 million by 2013
and then to double over the next four years, reaching 1.3 billion
subscribers by 2017.
"The cloud is a
game-changer in an age of near-ubiquitous mobile broadband,
offering benefits to consumers and cloud service providers alike,"
Jagdish Rebello, director for consumer and communications at IHS,
said in an Oct. 15 statement.
cloud services are intended to manage and store user-generated data
or purchased content, such as music, ebooks, pictures or videos,"
Rebello continued. "The content can then be seamlessly accessed and
synced across devices like smartphones, media tablets and PCs.
Meanwhile, technology companies are looking at the cloud as a way
to generate revenue."
Microsoft, Google, Amazon and others are heavily investing in cloud
infrastructure and services, which they offer to consumers, IHS
notes, at the same cost or lower costs than those of pure-play
providers such as Dropbox, Mozy, Carbonite and SugarSync. To
compete, the latter have developed "freemium" models in which they
give away a few gigabytes of free storage, pulling in users who
likely go on to pay for more.
partnered with smartphone maker HTC, for example, offering in some
cases up to 23GB of storage for two years with the purchase of a
phone. Not all carriers supported this, though, likely preferring
that customers use their clouds instead.
"In addition to
generating revenue opportunities, cloud services can create
stickiness and reduce churn among the customers of mobile
operators," said the IHS report. "Users with large amounts of data
stored on an operator's cloud service are likely to be reluctant to
migrate their content to another operator's cloud service at the
end of a contract period because of the hassle involved, so the
cloud can be effectively leveraged as a tool to retain customer
perks and conveniences of cloud storage, not everyone is keen on
been active in calling attention to an industry that markets its
product as ethereal and earth-friendly, while the reality can be
acres of energy-burning servers. In an April report, it called data
"factories of the modern age."
The New York Times reported on a Microsoft data center
in Washington that used diesel generators, which are known to emit
toxic particulates. While the generators were secured as a back-up
power source, during one year Microsoft operated them for more than
6,000 hours, according to TheTimes.
public scrutiny of such practices, along with cost-saving
451 Research said in a September report, are pushing data
centers toward not only genuinely green practices but toward
becoming "engines of innovation in efficiencies."
surveyed more 1,000 data center decision makers, who all said they
were pursuing energy efficiencies. While 17 percent cited
regulations as a driver, 82 percent said they were motivated by