All You Can Eat Cloud Storage

All You Can Eat Cloud Storage

We’ve all fallen prey to marketing gimmicks before, lured in by promises or offers too good to be true. A common one is the use of the word ‘unlimited.’ After purchasing whatever it is that’s unlimited, we’re often left wondering: Was this worth the cost? Do I actually need an unlimited amount of this?

The emergence of enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) products has introduced cloud-based storage to many enterprises. More recently, ‘unlimited’ has become the marketing angle in this space – EFSS vendors have recently begun offering unlimited storage packages to their enterprise clients.

Bang for your buck

Rather than having a maximum capacity stored, a user could store terabytes of data on their account without needing to pay more than the fixed monthly price. For example, OneDrive users can pay just $10 to access unlimited storage, only 50% more than a plan with a cap of 1TB. Dropbox’s unlimited plan is $20 compared to $15 for its 5TB one.

How do service providers make money?

Some cloud storage service providers are betting that hardly any users will store an outrageously large amount on their platform. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, the service provider makes a bet that most users will consume an amount small enough that the provider will profit.

Some consumers will store so much that the provider makes a loss, but as long as this loss is offset by the revenue brought in by the majority of users, the provider can still make money. By taking a hit on the profitability of users with very high usage, the provider gains the perceived value that the user could – if they wished – consume whatever amount they wanted.

Enterprises are paying for functionality, not just bulk storage

In the case of content storage, ‘unlimited’ is proving to be more than just a gimmick. For many organizations, the concept of unlimited storage provides enterprises with reassurance that users can store what they need without spiraling costs. But even more than that, vendors are coupling unlimited packages with other offers that differentiate their platform and the services they offer.  

Dropbox, for example, evolved its identity to that of an intelligent team workspace. With this shift, Dropbox is working to position itself as the plane across which content-centric, team-based work is executed – not just a virtual file repository. Using an extensive partner network, Dropbox facilitates multi-application workflows happening on its platform, helping eliminate context-switching and smooth interconnectivity.

This market’s evolution shows that simply storing content and data isn’t enough. Today, it’s not just storage, but also enabling a customer to do more with their content. The gimmick isn’t unlimited storage – it’s unlimited collaboration, sharing and automation.

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