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Yahoo cloud storage free

Yahoo Cloud Storage: How Does Giving 1TB Free Work?

by Lou Montulli

Yahoo is giving away 1 terabyte of cloud storage to Flickr users for their photos. That’s a lot of storage! How can Yahoo give away 1TB of cloud storage for free? With that much cloud storage available for free, how will companies that charge for storage and related services survive?

How Yahoo Can Give Away 1TB of Cloud Storage

Consumer-grade hard drives are really cheap now. Basic SATA drives with 3TB can be bought for around $130. That’s really cheap. So, why would anyone, even a business pay more than $43 for a terabyte of storage?

See how our enterprise cloud backup solution works.

Zetta Data Protection

The Real Costs of Enterprise-grade Cloud Storage

While consumer-grade 1tb drives (like the cloud storage Yahoo is offering) are cheap, enterprise-grade drives cost quite a bit more. For the extra money you get significantly better reliability and faster performance. But many more costs go in to running an enterprise-grade cloud:

  • Drives need to be redundant – Hard drives fail, and if you don’t want to lose your data when this happens, you need more than 1 drive to get 1 drive’s worth of space.
  • Drives need to be connected to a computer to be useful – And those computers need to have redundant components to be reliable, increasing the cost considerably.
  • Computers need to be connected to the network to transmit data – Network switches and routers are very expensive, costs can run to $100K or more.
  • The whole set of disks, computer, and networking equipment needs – Power (#1 cost in data centers today), cooling, space, security, and redundancy (2 of everything).
  • Multiple copies of the data – This goes beyond RAID, and is usually called “backups.”
  • Support Engineers to manage it all – Someone needs to manage all the software, computers, networks and buildings 24 hours a day.

It turns out that the hard drive is by far the cheapest thing in the whole set up, and that 1TB of storage space is actually quite expensive to buy and manage every year. But that’s really just the beginning of the story.

Why Businesses Pay For Enterprise Cloud Storage

If you just need “dumb,” storage you can buy the cheapest storage available, from Amazon S3 cloud backup, Microsoft Azure backup or Google. They charge around $500-$1000 per TB per year. But what do you want to do with that space? Are you going to write your own software and read and write data to those services? That’s what they are designed for - and they work well for that.

If your purpose is to buy a solution that does something specialized, like backup and recovery, then you need a vendor that provides a fully fledged solution. You can always go build your own, but how much is your time worth? And how much will performance suffer from using the “cheapest,” solution?

So Much More Than Cloud Storage: Zetta Backup and Recovery

Zetta Data Protection is much more than storage. Even though our billing model is based on storage space under management, most of our costs are in developing the – award winning Zetta Agent– software and providing human services, like engineer level support, that make your backups and recovery work flawlessly.

We do still have significant costs for our physical hardware, hosting and networks, but most of our time is spent building a solution that performs flawless backups every day, allows for easy configuration and monitoring and is way faster than the competition.

What Yahoo Is Really Thinking

So back to that free terabyte Yahoo cloud drive. It is a deal for consumers, but it’s certainly going to cost Yahoo a lot of money to build and operate. They have a plan to monetize it eventually, because every company on the internet clearly needs to make a profit in order to be successful (Ah, unless their name is Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, or Spotify).

Enterprise-grade vs. Consumer-grade Cloud Storage

Should you being paying for enterprise-grade cloud storage? It really depends who you are. Consumer-grade backup products can be very inexpensive if you’re a home user with a small amount of data.

If you’re an IT manager for a business, it’s more complicated since the “business backup,” plans from consumer-grade solutions like Mozy and Carbonite don’t work well above 300GB.

Serious enterprises of all sizes are looking for a company that can handle larger data sets. Zetta happens to be one of those companies. We might not give you a terabyte of backup storage for free, but we do deliver a very high-quality complete solution that does exactly what it says it will do for any amount of data (we have many customers storing more than 100TB right now).

For a low fee per month month, you also get a group of people that stand behind the product, will answer the phone when you have questions, and are 100% dedicated to online backup and disaster recovery.

Lou Montulli
Zetta blog author

Lou is Zetta's co-founder and chief scientist.