Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Are Cloud Storage Providers The Same As Storage Service Providers?

Isn't cloud storage just Storage Service Providers with new marketing? The question came up twice last week in almost identical
fashion. Obviously, there is still some confusion, and the failure of
Storage Service Providers (SSPs) still weighs around the neck of Cloud
Storage Providers (CSP) like an albatross. Are CSPs the same as SSPs?
While there is one similarity there are also dramatic differences. What's similar?

The SSP concept started in the late 90's. The goal was to make storage
similar to electricity. You plugged into the wall and there was your
storage. In general, cloud storage follows this same model. Both are
based on a pay-as you-go model. As far as similarities go, though, that's about it.

What's different? The first big difference that comes to mind for me is the infrastructure
that the CSPs are using. Most, if not all, of the SSPs used very
expensive, high-end, name brand hardware to host their customers' data.
The idea in those days was to impress the end user with the storage
brand name behind the SSP. We see almost the exact opposite today, CSPs
are more often than not leveraging their name first and the hardware
second. Although the quality of the hardware is important, greater
emphasis is placed on the policies and procedures that these companies

The next difference is availability and cost of bandwidth.
Bandwidth is everywhere now and acceptable speeds are very affordable.
Those connections tend to be a lot more reliable. I can't remember the
last time our office internet connection has gone down, but it
has been at least a month or two, and when it did, it was only for a few
minutes. Clearly better availability can be had than our standard
vanilla office connection. Also, if you project bandwidth out, we are not
far from near ubiquitous bandwidth all at very high speeds, and in a
data center we are there now.

The hardware model itself is also different. SSPs tried to use
tier one, monolithic solutions that were really designed for single-server, or at most, single-organization use. The SSPs became software
developers in their own right, trying to address the shortcomings of a
monolithic storage system and to try to ease their own management burden
on them.

  • 1