Cloud Store Wars For SMBs-The Established Players

in Cloud Computing, Mobile Computing

There has been a dramatic shake up in the increasingly competitive cloud storage market ranging from the stunning to the downright bizarre. The former was Google suddenly trying to pull the rug out from other players in the sector by dropping it’s prices to $10 for 1tb of online storage.  Dropbox user fora were awash with users threatening to jump ship if the company didn’t follow suit and there was further outrage when the company appointed Condi Rice to the board. The bizarre was SugarSync’s decision to abandon its freemium policy and go for an all out subscription.Despite the fact that I had something like 8gb of free space through referrals I had already jumped ship because I just didn’t like SugarSync 2.

For the first part of a two part look at the cloud based store, sync n share services I will be looking at the pioneers; for the second point the new boys in town. So, the old brigade:

Box

box1

Box has never really tried to pander to the individual, Joe Public marketplace, preferring instead to aim its services at the professional and business community. The professional level service is mirrored by the number of bolt on apps ranging from Box for Google Apps, iPad, MS Office, Android, Blackberry, Netsuite, Salesforce … I think you get the picture.

As you would expect from one of the premier sync n share services online co-operation is robustly underpinned so you can work in teams with individuals – and you can always keep track of who is doing what with versioning.

Uploading files to Box is simplicity itself via Box Sync which is now in its fourth incarnation but if you have a business or premium account you can use FTP to upload bulk files to your Box storage area. Although FTP might seem a legacy system, believe me when you are handling large numbers of files it is a godsend!

Pricing runs from a generous free account with 25gb of space chucked in, a starter plan at $3.50 per user per month, the mainline business plan at $11 per user per month and the top of the range enterprise level for $25 per user per month.

One of the key things to remember is that while some other cloud storage,sync n share services have allegedly been hacked, there has been no negative publicity about Box and the service it offers.  If I were a SMB then I would seriously look at Box over other services.

Dropbox

dropbox

Dropbox has been at the forefront of sync n share for many years and the primary reason for this is that it is just so simple to set up and use. That, and the fact that there are scores of third party plugins linking to everything from email services to controlling torrents is how it has kept competitive despite being an expensive option in terms of free space at entry level – just 2gb.

Despite the seemingly many criticisms thrown Dropbox’s way the directors have stuck by their guns and not budged on free space, pricing or the way the company is run. But then I guess if you have a reported 200 million users Drew Houston should be fairly satisfied that I was doing something right.

Two or three years ago I was fairly critical of Dropbox but when I abandoned SugarSync I found it had the best overall deal for me so I coughed up the cash for a 100gb account. Had this happened today I may well have looked at Box in more depth but back then it’s pricing was more expensive.

The bottom line is that Dropbox works and works bloody well, is simple to set up and use and offers the more experienced user a shed load of extras to power your online experience

 Google Drive

google drive

OK, I know that Google scans my emails for targeting advertisements and probably gets up to all sorts of nefarious activities to discover that I prefer Estrella to Peroni, but there is no such think as a free lunch and the power than Google provides me at every level is phenomenal and if I want to send a confidential email I will do so through GMX.

Google’s recent price reductions – well, drastic slashing is probably a more apt description – has thrown the cat among the pigeons. At $1.99 a month for 100gb, $9.99 for 1tb up to $299 for 30tb the deal is great for the consumer but my worry is what will happen when Google has driven everyone else out of business, which is one of the reasons I am sticking with my paid for Dropbox account.  Also, I have made a promise to myself that one warm summer’s night I am going to sit out under the stars clutching a cold beer (Estrella, not Peroni as Google already knows) and try and imaging what the hell goes into 30tb!

Google storage operates at many levels. If you use Google Docs, documents generated there do not count against your storage limit, but associated graphics, PDFs etc do. Google Music also allows you to store 20,000 tracks free of charge over and above when Drive gives you for whatever pricing level you go to.

It goes without saying that Box, Dropbox and Google Drive have excellent support for mobile devices.

If you are wondering why I haven’t gone into detail on SugarSync I feel it has lost direction since the departure of Laura Yeccies and I am not too sure about its long term future.

Previous post:

Next post: