In the short time since cloud computing has become more widely adopted we’ve seen it adapted for use in a large variety of different situations. Perhaps the most notable use of cloud computing right now however is media service delivery. In fact, all of the top cloud providers are delivering services which seem to be mostly aimed at the average consumer. Of course individuals aren’t the only ones tapping into these cloud services, businesses are also banking heavily on them, but tend to gravitate toward those delivering storage and/or communication.
The following 4 cloud providers were found to be the most frequently used according to statistical data gathered by Strategy Analytics’ Q3 ConsumerMetrix as part of a survey program conducted in October of 2012 (US survey).
iCloud / iTunes – Match
Does it really surprise anyone that Apple would be at the top of the list of cloud providers specializing in media service delivery? Although their share prices have slipped a bit in recent months, Apple is still one of the hardest hitting companies. Likewise, they’ve certainly has built an enviable consumer base filled to the brim with devotees who are all very much addicted to their products. What’s been surprising is the sheer level of success that Apple has been able to manage with their iCloud and iTunes services. According to the strategy analytics survey, 27% of respondents said that they had used one of Apple’s cloud services. Keep in mind here, we’re talking about a largely random sampling of people that were questioned as well; it’s entirely likely that there are certain segments of the population which are more heavily saturated with users than others. Regardless, Apple’s cloud services are an obvious success story and no doubt millions of users will continue to rely on them for music / media storage and delivery for quite some time (after all, Apple recently celebrated selling 25 billion songs via iTunes).
At this point, you’ve probably already used Dropbox yourself, perhaps for transferring large files for a work, media, art or music project, right? Arguably, what propelled the Dropbox service forward even further than expected was the addition of a number of novel features which other data storage and delivery services simply weren’t contemplating. While the free service is really great, the upgrades (at $10 for 50GB and $20 for 100GB) are really extraordinary. In fact, with all that extra space, some people are actually using their Dropbox accounts like surrogate hard drives where they can both access and store their data. Moreover, it’s somewhat comforting to know that you’ve got a safe place to put your critical data in the event of a breakdown or disaster – Dropbox certainly fits the bill in this regard. For a closer look at some of the amazing things you can do with Dropbox, check out this article.
Amazon Cloud Drive
When it comes to any list of important cloud computing service providers you can safely bet that Amazon is going to be on there somewhere. Amazon has more or less led the charge in world of cloud computing, their EC2 and S3 services are widely known throughout the world and a great number of very prominent websites rely on them on a daily basis. The cloud drive service offered by Amazon is pretty much a one-size-fits-all storage locker that is extremely easy to use and works with any device. Additionally, cloud drive provides support for the Kindle Fire HD, which is good news for its users. Starting off, you get a hefty 5GB of free storage space once you download the app and if you want to upgrade it’s only going to cost you $1 per GB per year. In other words, this is unquestionably one of the most stable and affordable cloud storage solutions out there and it definitely deserves your attention.
While Google Drive can be used to store and share virtually any type of file you can imagine, it’s mostly being tapped by businesses and individuals for professional applications it seems. This makes sense; after all, Google Drive has also been integrated into a wide variety of other applications and services which provide functionality for organizations. For those that process a lot of documents on a regular basis, Google Drive is arguably the best storage and delivery solution out there. This is due to the fact that you can automatically convert files from one format to the default Google docs format, making it much easier for users of different OS’s and reader programs to access your files. Of course not everyone is using Google docs for work purposes, there are actually quite a number of people that like to use it as a music storage folder; in fact, you can even store your tunes in a folder and play them on your iPhone…killer.
If you’re in IT, get into the Cloud
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, businesses as well as average consumers are moving toward increased adoption of cloud services. It’s pretty much inevitable that most internal corporate operations will continue to become more cloud-centric as more services and apps come online (also perhaps causing the prices of these already highly affordable services to drop). What does this mean for you as an IT professional? Simply put, we might see a slight shift away from traditional IT services toward their cloud counterparts. If this happens, you’ll want to possess some type of cloud certification. Luckily, cloud certification is not only highly affordable, it’s relatively easy to acquire; get yours today.