There are a lot of great reasons to use the cloud for storage; anywhere, anytime, any-device access to your information is a great advantage for those of us not chained to a desk(top). But there are so many different services, how could anyone know which one to pick?
I’ve gone through a lot of the offerings out there and made some attempt to categorize them into business or consumer. Then I weeded out the fly-by-night file sharing sites which are more of a way to pirate music than store it. Then I scoured the web for reviews of the sites (it might have taken less time to review some of these myself) and again eliminated a bunch of services that had widespread complaints.
One aspect of cloud storage that I find particularly interesting is the commoditization of hardware, software, and the services built on top of them. Because the prices on the hardware and the bandwidth have come down so much in the past 5 years (it would have been unthinkable to save music on some server out there on the Internet 10 years ago), the cloud storage market has grown dramatically.
This commoditization makes sense if you think about it. Hard drives themselves have decreased in price to where you could get a terabyte SATA drive for $70. Granted, we’re talking about much larger scale than a single drive, but you could buy a 3u rack mountable server with 24 multi-terabyte drives in it for under $6,000. I remember that on my first server I installed a 100 MB (MB, not GB!) drive for $1500, plus we needed 2 to run RAID 0. Just looking at those numbers, it’s easy to see how the hardware commoditization has driven down the price of cloud storage.
In order to test my theory, I spoke with Brent Miller of ZT Systems, a reputable commodity server manufacturer. I shared my theory with Brent and asked him what he thought of it. His immediate response was, “You just might be right. For a long time everyone was talking about using the cloud for processing large volumes of data. Lately, we’re seeing a lot of action around cloud storage. One of our most popular build outs is a 2u storage server packed with 2 SSDs and 24 hard drives.”
So, I wasn’t that far off with my theory. I thought the most popular configuration would be a 3u server, but I’m off by a u!
|Provider||Type of Storage: Synch, File Sharing, Backup||Public Internet file hosting||Free online storage||Consumer or Business|
|Acronis Online Backup||Backup||No||Yes; For trial period||Consumer|
|ASUS WebStorage||Backup, Synch, Share||Yes||2 GB||Consumer|
|Back2Cloud.com||Backup||Yes||Yes; For trial period|
|Badongo||Free File Sharing, Synch, Storage||Yes||Y||Both|
|Barracuda Backup Service||Backup device at customer site backs up to storage at Barracuda data center||No||No, aimed at commercial users||Business|
|Box.net||Storage, Collaboration, File Sharing||Yes||y||Business|
|CloudSafe||Storage, File Sharing||Yes||Business|
|Datapreserve||Backup, Storage, Data Vault, email storage||No||N||Business|
|Dropbox||File Sharing||Yes||2 GB||Both|
|Egnyte||storage, sharing, collaboration||Yes||No||Business|
|ElephantDrive||Storage and Backup||Yes||2 GB||Both|
|Fabrik Ultimate Backup (Hitachi Backup)||No|
|FiberCloud||Backup and E-mail Hosting||No||N||Business|
|Fileserve||Storage, File Sharing||Yes||2 GB||Consumer|
|FlipDrive||Storage, Backup, Sharing||Yes||Yes; For trial period||Consumer|
|Gluster||open source clustered storage solution||No||n||Business|
|Iomega Istorage||storage, sharing||Yes||no||Consumer|
|KeepVault||Storage, Backup, Sharing||Yes||No||Both|
|Memopal||Backup and Storage||Yes||3 GB||Both|
|MiMedia||Storage, Backup, Sharing||No||7 GB||Both|
|Nirvanix||Cloud Storage Software||No||n||Business|
|OpenDrive||Storage, File Sharing||No||100 GB||Both|
|SOS Online Backup||Storage, Backup, Sharing||Yes||No||Both|
|SpiderOak||Storage, Backup, Sharing||Yes||2 GB||Both|
|SugarSync||Storage, Synch||Yes||5 GB||Both|
|Symantec Online Backup (Backup Exec Cloud)||Backup||No||No||Business|
|Syncplicity||Synch, Backup||Yes||2 GB||Both|
|TrendMicro SafeSync||Storage, Synch, Backup||Yes||Yes; For trial period||Both|
|Ubuntu One||Store, Synch, Stream||Yes||2 GB||Consumer|
|Zetta||enterprise storage in the cloud||No||n||Business|