If you’re like me, an inveterate Apple customer with a touch of paranoia, then you have multiple backup plans to store photos, movies, music, and digital documents. One of my plans just crashed. CrashPlan decided to kill their popular CrashPlan for Home backup service. If it was so popular, then why did they kill it?
No matter, because competition is everywhere and options are plenty, so other than filling the hole left behind by CrashPlan, all is good. Right? Right?
Here’s the way I see it. There’s not much money to be made in online storage, plenty of risk, and only the largest of technology companies have a presence in the cloud.
Who do you know that has large cloud services?
- Google – Google Drive (15GB free)
- Microsoft – Microsoft OneDrive (5GB free)
- Dropbox – works great, but only 2GB free
- Box – works with many apps, 10GB free
- iCloud – only Apple devices, 5GB free
- Amazon S3 – 5GB free, plus usage
These are the major cloud storage players for consumers and small business. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and a few others, including IBM, have larger cloud services for enterprise.
Is there a bargain among the Big Six?
Amazon could be because pricing is based upon usage. The more you use, the less it costs per GB, but Amazon tiers begin at 51TB, so it’s attractive to larger companies, not the average Mac, iPhone, and iPad user who wants easy to manage storage. Amazon S3 storage doesn’t show up in many applications, as a storage option, either.
Google has multiple tiers, too. One for the masses, and one for businesses, the so-called GSuite. $5 per month per user gets 30GB and a bunch of add-on services like Gmail, video conferencing, admin controls. That does not compare well to iCloud which comes with a 50GB plan for 99-cents, 200GB plan for $2.99 a month, and a whopping 2TB of storage for $9.99 a month.
Clearly, Apple is no longer afraid to play with the big boys on cloud storage. And, yes, I use iCloud to store everything– but not as my only cloud solution.
- Microsoft OneDrive – 50GB for $1.99, but 1TB for about $70 a year, but that also includes Office 365 with office for all devices.
- Carbonite – I suspect many CrashPlan customers headed to Carbonite, thanks to a new one year plan that starts at nearly $30 per year for new customers, regularly $60 for unlimited cloud storage for one computer but accessible from iPad and iPhone.
- Backblaze – One of my past favorites; unlimited personal storage for $5 per month or $50 per year. These guys may not be the largest cloud storage and backup system, but they’re very good, and have more useful features than Carbonite or iDrive.
- Roll Your Own – Well, that’s what I did and will continue to do. I have one Mac which is central to all files; photos, movies, music, Documents. That Mac is backed up to another Mac and to a few external disk drives for each; all backed up automatically. I keep one Time Machine disk drive.
After that, it’s a combination of iCloud, Backblaze, and files stored on Amazon via Arq, and the free levels from Google, Microsoft, Box, and Dropbox; again, all automatically backed up in the background. The first backup for each was painful, incremental backups are a none issue.
Of those cloud services I use, Dropbox is the fastest and least error prone, but I use only the free tier with access to certain applications. iCloud has improved over the past year, sufficiently so that I trust it with all files on my Mac, and they’re available on all Macs, iPhones, and iPads in the household.
CrashPlan may have crashed, but iCloud is rising.