The blogosphere was alive this weekend with news of new sync/cloud storage service Zumodrive’s beta launch.
For those who didn’t catch it, Zumodrive is cloud storage with a twist, the twist being that your local machine is fooled into thinking that Zumodrive is in fact a local drive, thus obviating the necessity to actually sync data onto the local machine. Instead Zumodrive, streams data when a “pseudo-local” file is opened.
Mobile Industry Review meanwhile went stratospheric, opining that Zumodrive was going to change everything (world poverty, a cure for cancer and ubiquitous broadband notwithstanding).
So I have two separate issues with Zumodrive;
What’s the (preferably defendable) Unique Selling Proposition?
We all know that start-ups need a unique selling proposition to succeed. Zumodrive’s proposition is the fact that it appears as a mounted drive on a local machine. Other than that it has no more functionality than a myriad of other players out there – SugarSync, Syncplicity, DropBox etc. That seems a pretty fragile point on which to stand. Especially when one considers that Zumodrive is, in essence, just reselling Amazon S3 storage (at a hefty margin it must be said).
Already one can mount S3 as a local drive by using Jungledisk. USD20 gets you a Jungledisk account and then you can pay Amazon for just the data one uses instead of a fixed 30 GB or 60 GB or 200 GB.
It’s a pretty busy space and I’d not bet the house on a business plan which, at first blush, seems a little shaky. Even some superstars of the tech world (Arrington not included, seem to agree);
It’s about bandwidth dummy
Believe it or not (and some readers will have a hard time over this), we don’t all enjoy ubiquitous and near limitless broadband. Sure I can store all of my pictures, music and movies in the clouds, but to be able to stream them in real time and at will is still very much a pipe-dream for the staggering majority of internet consumers.
Despite being a cloud evangelist, there are some things that I believe are still in the “too hard basket”. Full cloud based storage, with no local aspect, is one of these things.
Zoli and I had a discussion this evening and, in what may come as a surprise given that we are editor-in-chief and co-editor respectively of a specialist cloud computing blog, we both concurred on the existing need for local storage. As Zoli pointed out to me when discussing his new 1Tb external hard drive;
1tb external drive 100 bucks – 1GB = 10 cents, not per month
Even Mobile Industry Review – so positive about ZumoDrive as a product, realises the limitations that bandwidth cause who post that they;
can upload a gig in 8.3 hours
That 200 Gb you want up there is going to take you 1660 hours to upload to the cloud in the first place (or a smidgen over two months) – ouch.
So best of luck to the Zumodrive team, you’re had the misfortune to launch at a bad economic time, your offering joins a bunch of similar ones and your supplier may well become your competitor – but at least you got Michael Arrington’s attention!