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
ADrive Storage Yes 50 GB Both
ASUS WebStorage Backup, Synch, Share Yes 2 GB Consumer Backup Yes Yes; For trial period
Backblaze Backup No No Both
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 Storage, Collaboration, File Sharing Yes y Business
Carbonite Backup Yes No Both
CloudSafe Storage, File Sharing Yes Business
Comodo Backup Backup No No
Crashplan Backup No No Both
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
Filesonic Storage, Backup Yes Y Both
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
MediaFire File Transfer Yes y Consumer
Memopal Backup and Storage Yes 3 GB Both
MiMedia Storage, Backup, Sharing No 7 GB Both
Mozy backup No 2 GB Consumer
Nasumi Gateway No n Business
Nirvanix Cloud Storage Software No n Business
OpenDrive Storage, File Sharing No 100 GB Both
Panzura Gateway Device No n Business
SendSpace File Transfer Consumer
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
TwinStrata Gateway Device No n Business
Ubuntu One Store, Synch, Stream Yes 2 GB Consumer
Unitrends Vault2Cloud Backup No No Business
Zetta enterprise storage in the cloud No n Business
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