Microsoft's decision to trim the amount of free storage users can have on OneDrive has received a mixed reception from the channel, with some claiming it is bad news for enterprises and others insisting it proves the cloud is maturing.
From July, new OneDrive users will be allowed only 5GB of free storage, down from the 15GB to which they are entitled today. The change will affect individual users of OneDrive, who tend to be consumers or small businesses.
But the ramifications of the move will be felt among enterprises, according to channel faces who have weighed in on the news.
Orlando Scott-Cowley, cybersecurity strategist at email security firm Mimecast, said the change should encourage businesses to ensure they are working with multiple vendors.
"[This] should serve as a warning for enterprise IT departments as to the dangers of relying on a single cloud vendor," he said. "What happens when you sign up to a cloud service, only to see promised service levels modified or service features withdrawn at a later date?
"Microsoft's unlimited storage for OneDrive customers is a case in point. Whatever the rights and wrongs, when an enterprise signs up to a cloud service such as Office 365 or Google for Work, it is taking a series of promises [based] on trust. So if you've put all your eggs in that particular basket, including primary and redundant copies of your critical business data, there is always a risk."
Cloud Industry Forum and Eurocloud board member Ian Moyse said Microsoft is not the first vendor to make such changes, but insisted it will not be the last.
He claims that the decision to cut the amount of free storage proves that cloud technology is maturing.
"We will see more of this in time when services become more popular," he said. "It's all about monetisation and getting users. What this says is [Microsoft] has gone past the land-grab stage.
"Businesses now have multiple cloud applications in use – maybe CRM or Office 365. It is becoming more commonplace. Cloud is in the stages of starting to mature and that is why we are seeing these adjustments going on. Cloud providers are getting enough data points to make adjustments like this. Once you've been in the marketplace so long, the beauty of cloud is you can see, genuinely, how users are using [it]."
Andy Hinxman, director of Keybridge IT, agreed and said cloud experiments such as Microsoft's OneDrive changes will continue.
"The cloud market is new and exciting, but as it is unchartered territory," he said, "vendors are experimenting with services, finding out what end users want and how to make it profitable.
"In this respect, although cloud services have been running for years, it's not a very established market although lots of services use them. We often hear how there are improvements to the service, whether it's security, compliance or simply performance with higher-spec hardware. Lots of vendors are finding their feet with cloud and, due to its diverse and unlimited opportunities, it's not only a market destined to grow, but one that is still finding what works too."
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