For those of you who aren’t familiar with “The Cloud” it is the term used to describe the delivery of services over the Internet – The concept of the cloud is really conveying two main points – Firstly that the data or service is coming to you via the Internet (It just seems to arrive seamlessly and form out of nowhere) and secondly that it is not really coming from a single computer so its easy to think that its not stored on a computer, but in “The Cloud”.
This article will provide a cloud storage providers comparison showing the key features and benefits of the top providers as well as pricing information and value for money.
In reality these services are housed on computers, but they will normally be enterprise computing systems and will be making use of distributing computing technology which means that the services are on a platform spread across multiple computers and often multiple physical locations.
Cloud Storage is exactly what is says on the tin – the practice of storing digital information in the aforementioned “Cloud”. So your data will be uploaded to these distributed computing systems, and then stored within them, for your easy access at any time. There are several advantages of this method of storage, the main ones being safety – these computer systems are much more robust than a home PC for example, and therefor there is a much lower chance of data corruption or loss – more detail to come on that one later. The second main advantage is ease of access – once your data is in the cloud, Dependant upon the provider, it can be accessed from almost any location and any device.
Cloud storage providers comparison
To give you a basis for the comparison, we have put together our top ten cloud storage providers – this is based partly on a general consensus among technology professionals in the industry, and partly on our own findings – please note that it is not an ordered list, but simply the top ten providers:
- Apple iCloud
- Microsoft Onedrive (formerly Skydrive)
- Google Drive
- Amazon Cloud drive
- Media Fire
- Rackspace Cloud File Storage
To give you some more detail as to what each of these providers offer in terms of storage, pricing and so on, we have picked several metrics to compare all of the services to each other by, and they are as follows:
|Provider||Free Space||Paid (Monthly)||Cost per GB (Monthly)||Business/Retail||Verdict|
|Dropbox||2GB||£7.99/1TB||£0.007||Both||Very Comprehensive Service|
|Livedrive||N/a||£10/2TB||£0.005||Both||Good price, 2TB max|
|Mega||50GB||£8.25/500GB||£0.016||Primarly Retail||Best free offering|
|iCloud||5GB||£6.99/500GB||£0.013||Primarily Retail||Reasonably priced|
|OneDrive||15GB||£5.99/1TB||£0.005||Both||Very good price, Apps need development|
|Google Drive||15GB||£6.34/1TB||£0.006||both||Well priced|
|Box||10GB||£11/UNLIMITED||~||Both||Best price but 5GB file limit|
|Amazon Cloud||5GB||£13.34/500GB||£0.027||Primarily Retail||Fairly Expensive|
|MediaFire||10GB||£1.58/1TB||£0.0016||Both||Very well priced|
|Rackspace||N/a||£70/1TB||£0.07||Primarily Business||Expensive but reliable|
cloud storage providers summary
Based on our comparison of the top cloud storage providers, we have made the following summaries:
- Mega is the best value if you are looking for free personal storage.
- Livedrive is the best overall solution for individuals
- Dropbox is the best solution for small businesses
- Rackspace is the best solution for enterprise