Online storage service adding a terabyte a week

Price of online storage is going down, but people are storing more than ever, storage company Streamload says.

PALO ALTO, Calif.--You people just love your online storage capacity, don't you.

Streamload, a San Diego-based company providing online storage services, is adding more than a terabyte a week of storage to its network to keep ahead of consumer demands for online storage, said CEO Steve Iverson at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit taking place here this week.

"We've got data centers in San Diego, Phoenix and Frankfurt, Germany. Half of our customers are outside the U.S.," he said. "We are storing over 8 billion files."

The boom in online storage is being driven by an explosion of digital content. When Hotmail first arrived on the scene, consumers typically stored data in the form of e-mails and attachments on online services. Now, they want to store music, movies, pictures and blogs, and access it all through different devices.

"It's not just about expanded storage capacity. It's also about remotely accessing your data," Iverson added. Approximately 80,000 people a week open new storage accounts on Streamload's network.

Luckily, the price of storage continues to plummet, dropping around 50 percent per year. Hard drives cost about 50 cents or less per gigabyte, and that's on retail hard drives. A thousand gigabytes go into a terabyte. Thus, a terabyte worth of hard drives, if purchased in volume, will cost a few hundred dollars. Seagate sells a complete home storage system with a terabyte for $899 that comes with a lot of electronics and a plastic housing that raw disks would not come with.

Streamload faces huge competitors in Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. The company in part hopes to survive among these giants by selling its service through others. AMD's Live service, a media vault for customers, is run by Streamload. The first 25GB of storage are free. For $10 a month, consumers can get 250GB from the Live service.

Sprint will soon offer a similar service to its DSL customers, Iverson said, noting that such companies would rather have a private-label service than send customers to Google. Streamload also has patents and intellectual property it could license to large storage providers.

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