Web 2.0 Wine Tasting

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Dave Roberson our CEO hosted a wine tasting event in San Francisco last night for the new “web 2.0” companies in our area. We were interested in meeting the people behind the Web pages, to understand their business models and their storage requirements.

We had a great turn out thanks to blogger and global web strategist Jeremiah Owyang who helped us organize this event and invite these new companies. Among the guests were Box.net an online storage company, Joyent an “Office 2.0” company, Zooomr an online photo company, BeBo.com an online photo/video/social sharing company that also owns Birthday alarm an online greeting card company, LifeMoxie online career mentoring services, Approver an online document management company, NING a provider of web apps to create custom social websites, and ArcScale an HDS partner who focuses on Web 2.0 companies like Facebook. We also had Martin Mckeay a writer, thought leader and blogger on data security. This was a very interesting evening, with a lot of new ideas, interesting individuals, and great conversation.

From a storage perspective there were many different approaches depending on where they were in their life cycle. Jeff McManus CEO of Approver just launched his new company in September, so he is out sourcing his server and storage for the time being. He expects that as he grows larger he will use an internet storage service like Amazon S3 for a while and then move to enterprise storage when his business takes off. Prior to the dinner I had signed up to try out their workflow and document management tool and almost immediately got back a welcome email from Jeff, the CEO of Approver that was time stamped at 11:19pm! These guys never sleep.

Dave Pifke of BeBo told me that their company has been in business for few years and is the third most popular social networking site in the US, number one in countries like the UK an Australia. They use our AMS 500 for their data base, combined with Rackable Systems storage for their user content. Their systems are housed in the old Abovenet hosting site on Market street. Power is a major concern since the landlord changed the pricing model from floor space to KW power consumption. KW used is now the limiting factor not floor space.

Many of these new companies are providing some amount of free storage, as a way to attract and keep new customers. If a user has invested his content on a site and has invited all his friends to access his content, he is less likely to switch to another site. These social networking sites know that storage provides stickiness and they can make money on the advertising clicks. Jeremiah believes that the day will come when these sites will go beyond providing free storage and even pay users to store their content. Many of these companies are growing storage capacity by 15 to 20% per week. At this rate you reach a petabyte very quickly.

On a periodic basis, we will be hosting similar events like this to get to know new companies and understand their storage and data requirements.

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10 comments on this post.
  1. Jeremiah Owyang:


    Wonderful insight into this growing and emerging market.

    As a web professional, I do indeed believe that companies will offer online data storage for free, and then offer it as a give away such as ‘free checking’.

    Over time personal data, media, will grow online, it will be loosely collected by organized by common attributes. Many of these online data storing companies will open up their APIs to share data with other companies to create applications we’ve not even imagined yet.

    At some point, I suspect companies like Amazon and Google will be able to pay consumers to put data on this ‘storage cloud’ in hopes of understanding the specific interests of the individual, and thereby serving back contextual and relevant marketing.

    I also predict that this content in storage cloud will be retrieved from a variety of clients anytime anywhere such as mobile devices, cars, living room, and in front of the computer.

    This is not to suggest that there will be NO data on a person locally, but it may be synched with the storage cloud in real time for both privacy and performance reasons.

    The biggest challenges are going to be bandwidth, security, and identity.

  2. Web Strategy by Jeremiah » Life Captured and Shared on the Web, A Data Storage Discussion with Dave the CEO of HDS:

    [...] Hu Yoshida, provides his observations [...]

  3. Web Strategy by Jeremiah » SmartSheet chooses Online Data Storage route:

    [...] Online Data Storage is a cheap and fast way to get storage, small emerging companies don’t want to hire a Sys Admin, Storage Admin, and then buy HW and SW to install and support.  The other benefits include a pay as you go model, and nearly unlimited scalability.  As Hu learned from Jeff McManus, for the companies that do make it big, they’ll have to switch to their own internal enterprise storage offerings, perhaps keeping the data closer and safer. [...]

  4. Ulrich:


    I recommend adding another company to your list of Web 2.0 companies. They are exceptional in many ways: small, not yet well known, not located in Silicon Valley but in the heart of Europe: http://www.thingsprime.com

    Their offering and ideas are brilliant and I think they have some new approaches to manage and control the data generated in a Web 2.0 environment – especially if used in the corporate intranet:

    - export/import for web 2.0 content in xml format (for blogs, wikis but also for complex “portals”).
    - security enforcement for all Web 2.0 components in one application core.
    - Common layouts applied for all modules (just went throug the excercise of changing to a new company design within hours, not months).
    - centralized search capabilities
    - a corporate tag cloud etc.

    I believe that this and more functionality will be required to manage the petabytes you are mentioning.

    And I believe that Web 2.0 applications will change the way corporations will work and where the data will be generated.

  5. Jeffrey McManus:

    Thanks for the link, Hu, and the conversation. We’ll definitely stay in touch as we build out Approver.com, since I strongly suspect that the quantity and manner in which we extend storage capabilities to our customers will make a big difference in the long term.

  6. Jeremiah Owyang:


    You bring up some good points, I’m already seeing quite a few ‘enterprise 2.0′ and ‘office 2.0′ companies appearing that replicate and improve traditional office suites in the browser.

    Intranet information is not only being generated on remote servces, but stored there as well.

    Salesforce.com is a great example of this being done.

  7. Nigel Poulton:

    Hey Hu,

    Its great to see HDS getting so involved with these new Web 2.0 companies.

    Im personally excited about the storage cloud (has anyone patented that yet) – I can access my recorded episodes of Lost, my music, pictures, my professional notes – heck my life while on the road anywhere any time! And of course as a storage practitioner its a very exciting time.

    Im wondering if this new bread of storage hungry digital content companies are going to have different storage demands and expectations to HDS more traditional customers? May be some architectural changes ahead?

    I hear that some of these companies are racking up storage and servers like they’re going out of fashion. Quite hard to *manage* from a storage point of view as Im sure they also live and die by delivering their content fast – very exciting times ahead for storage companies and storage pro’s! GREAT to see a company like HDS engaging with these customers and hopefully also talking with them on a technical level about how to meet their needs.

    Where are we going to house all of the servers and storage!!


  8. Hu Yoshida:

    Thanks for the heads up. I know there must be the same dynamics happening in Erurope and other parts of the world. Please send me other references as you come across them. On my next trip to Europe I would like to meet some of thes new companies.

  9. Hu Yoshida:

    Hi Nigel
    Yes this growth is tremendous. If you give a free GB and have a million subscribers, that is a PB. With data protection and management, that could easily be 5 PB of storage. If every subscriber fills up their GB we are talking a massive storage management problem.

  10. Alex:

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    You get incremental and compressed backups that consume less network bandwidth by transferring only portions of changed files. Backups are secure with 128-bit SSL encryption on transmission. IBackup has browser-based and downloadable applications for Windows, Linux /Unix and Mac platforms. IBackup is like an extra hard drive on your computer and it allows you to store your important documents and files securely online. You can also backup open files using this application.

    IDrive maps the online account as a local drive on the computer. Just drag-and-drop, open, edit and save files stored in the online account. These steps also have 128-bit SSL support. IDrive also streams multimedia content. The real beauty is the easy feature to share files with others. IBackup allows this with Webmanager. Create sharable links and then email these to your friends, partners and colleagues. You can have total control over when the shared links will expire. You can privately share data with another IBackup user. Also view the data another user has privately shared with you. Disable`Private Share’ feature any time.

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