An explosion of high-definition content is forcing Mozy to be one of the first cloud backup services to abandon unlimited online storage plans. Image: sfllaw/Flickr

Mozy, the cloud backup service for consumers, announced Tuesday that it is ending its unlimited online storage program. Mozy’s move is a signal that an explosion of HD video content and high speed broadband is overcrowding the cloud. Analysts predict that other cloud services will follow Mozy’s lead, and the dream of infinite online storage will be replaced by a finite reality.

Technology overwhelms Mozy’s cloud

Mozy launched its cloud backup service for residential consumers in 2006. Since then, Mozy cloud backup has cost $4.99 a month for unlimited online storage. In the past few years, digital camera megapixels have soared, video has gone high-def and people carry their gadgets wherever they go, photographing or taking video of anything that moves. Computer files are huge, and Mozy allows its customers to back up data to the cloud in a few minutes with the touch of a button. Mozy has 1 million customers now, and it stores 70 million gigabytes and counting. To keep up, Mozy needs more use more energy, build more infrastructure and hire more employees.

Adapting the Mozy business model

Our digital society needs a bigger cloud. To get one, consumers are going to have to pay for it, and Mozy customers will lead the way. Mozy’s business model operated on the premise that average users would balance out the voracious demands of power users. About 10 percent of Mozy customers are considered power users. They flood Mozy’s servers with high definition digital content and converted analog data. Mozy’s minority of power users are monopolizing the storage space intended for the majority of Mozy customers. In addition to discontinuing unlimited cloud backup service, Mozy is raising prices for limited online storage. Mozy customers will now pay $5.99 a month for up to 50 gigabytes of backup and $9.99 for 125 gigabytes. Power users must also pay extra to add computers to their online backup plans.

Getting off Mozy’s cloud

Mozy’s move to tiered pricing for cloud backup service has many power users searching for other sources. But it will be hard to find a better deal. Carbonite still costs $54.95 a year for unlimited online backup, but the service throttles bandwidth on power users. Google Docs runs $1,400 a year for 400 gigabytes. To store photos, Picasa Web Albums costs $100 a year for 400 gigabytes. Jungle Disk charges $3 a month plus 15 cents per gigabyte per month.


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