What will computing look like tomorrow? According to Bill Gates, tomorrow's PC will be a wireless tablet that's the centerpiece of a broadband, always-on network of convenient devices, many of which will be used away from home and the office. The network backbone? Surprise, surprise-it's the Internet.
So where does your 25GB-or, by that time, 250GB-hard drive fit in? How about somewhere out there in cyberspace as part of a Storage Service Provider's (SSP) virtual hard-drive farm? In the past 18 months or so, about a dozen SSPs have popped up to give you megabytes worth of free remote storage-in return, of course, for the opportunity to market your eyeballs off.
Don't worry, we're not yanking your data out of your desktop PC just yet. In fact, that may never happen-entirely. But expect at least a portion of yours and your company's data to start moving "out there"-and soon.
"Your virtual hard drive will eventually become as
important as your PC hard drive," predicts Ari Freeman,
co-founder of MySpace.com, which, along with companies like Xdrive,
i-drive.com, netdrive.com and Driveway, offers 25MB to 300MB or
more of free online storage and the opportunity to buy
Mike Hogan, Entrepreneur's technology editor, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.