Online storage's utility as a backup medium for busy knowledge workers and consumers is accepted.
But what does it offer an enterprise that already operates its own storage infrastructure, and has acquired the personnel and skills to do so?
According to Clive Gold, Vice Chairman of SNIA-ANZ and National Product Marketing Director for EMC, online storage offers several strategic applications, starting with disaster recovery.
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"Consider If you look at an org that has info all over the company," he says. "Maybe that organisation has great storage skills in head office, but not in its Melbourne office."
Rather than replicating those skills and infrastructure, he suggests online storage has a role to play.
"A second data centre is very expensive," he says, and disaster recovery can be achieved by using online storage instead.
"Our service partners have facilities you could not ever build for yourself. Their online facilities can do the job that office needs."
Hosted storage providers should also, he says, be able to assist with the implementation of wider storage strategies such as information lifecycle management, again thanks to the scale of their infrastructure - in this case software as well as hardware.
"They [hosted providers] have got a lot of expertise to help set policies," he says. "You can almost think of them as outsourcers for your operational processes around storage as well as an outsourced provider of infrastructure."
Gold is also keen to point out that online storage offers flexibility that in-house facilities may struggle to match.
"It is so much easier to start small and then scale up with an on-demand, online storage environment," he says. "They also offer a chance to shrink the amount of storage you use, and you cannot do any other way. At times of peak demand you could say 'I need another 10T for six weeks'."
At the end of that period, users simply stop consuming that storage, and never need to worry about it again.