Taxis, Zipcars and Cloud Storage

Ben Golub has a new blog post up, titled Taxis, Zipcars and Cloud Storage. Not sure how those things are related? Well, when having a recent discussion on the topic of what kind of car will we be driving in the year 2020, Ben got this interesting insight:

One person, however, suggested a more novel idea. “The car I will be driving,” he said, “is one that I will not own.” Instead, he argued, we’d all be using rent-by-the-hour cars such as those provided by Zipcars and others. Gas, maintenance, insurance, parking, and other costs would all be taken care of by others.

In other words, the biggest innovation would be in the form of provisioning, management, and ownership, rather than any underlying technology.

As in, forget the ownership society – we’re moving to a rental / timeshare society. Remember mainframe computers? Everything old is new again.

The question is not whether these models are viable, but to what extent. After all, the fact that these types of services are proliferating is a testament to their filling a gap in the market:

There is no question that cloud storage, like Zipcars or other rent-by-the-hour car services such as taxis, has a great deal of utility and a great deal of appeal. However, it is interesting to speculate about the extent to which these services can replace the more traditional user-owned and operated models.

For fun, I compared the price of storing 100 GB in various cloud services for one month to the cost of using on-premise storage. To make the comparison more apples-to-apples, I divided the cost of the on-premise storage by 36, assuming they had a three-year life span.

On the surface, the cloud storage seems ridiculously expensive — as much as 20 times the price of on-premise storage.

And therein lies the rub – is there a place in the world for a service that is, on the surface, more than double the price of its nearest competitor? As Ben goes on to note, the premium you pay is for the flexibility – the ability to buy a service whenever you want, however much you want. There are no permanent costs, and you’ll only pay for the time you use the service. In this context, the taxi cab model is a useful analogy. Obviously, riding everywhere in a cab would be prohibitively expensive, but that’s not how one uses a cab. We don’t know whether cloud storage will “take over the world”, but we do know that there are times when it’s superior to other alternatives, depending on the parameters of a given project. Do you use cloud storage services? What do you think?

Read Ben’s full blog post here. 


Gluster Documentation Links – Now Fixed

Some of you noticed an error resulting from our DNS changeover last Friday, resulting in users finding themselves redirected to the storage portal when attempting to reach the Gluster documentation. I’m happy to announce that this has now been fixed.

All links to Gluster documentation should now go through Update your documentation links to point here.

Additionally, there are new docs for the Red Hat Storage Software Appliance (SSA). From now on, you’ll see new SSA docs appear there, and GlusterFS docs will show up on

Let me know if this doesn’t work as described.


-John Mark

Welcome to Red Hat Storage!

Beginning today, you will have noticed some changes with, beginning with the domain name As you may have already noticed, we now redirect to the newly created Red Hat Storage web site – assuming all the DNS changes have propagated. There you will find everything you need to get started with the Red Hat Storage Software Appliance. Oh! did I mention we also released the first Red Hat Storage product?

The newly re-organized documentation now lives within Red Hat’s documentation for all product families.

And, of course, this blog now redirects from to

One more thing that will change is the URL of the bug tracker. The migration is currently in process, but upon completion, will redirect to Red Hat’s bugzilla page.

If you’re looking for, that site will remain as is. Look for a new wiki, documentation and more coming to the community site very soon.

Our goal is to bring new content and features to our greater community of customers, users and developers as seamlessly as possible. If you experience difficulty locating something, post a comment below, and someone will respond as quickly as possible.