"Cloud" is the new industry buzzword, but really, it is just a new name for what we’ve already had for the past 10+ years: online server storage. Of course the term "cloud" can mean many other things, but in the consumer space, the marketing speak is typically referring to online storage. Online storage solutions are a dime a dozen these days, and it can be hard to determine what company to go with. Hopefully this article will remove some of the confusion.
Best High Redundancy Cloud Storage: Amazon S3
This is the type of storage that you should store things such as photos, documents, financial records (encrypted first of course), etc. on. It is built specifically to handle drive loss in the datacenter without losing you data; actually, it handles many drive failures. Keep in mind that most decent cloud storage solutions are at least n+1 redundant storage. However, that is not enough for me to store my high value files.
This type of storage is typically more expensive than others which is why you only want to store things that are very important and don’t take up too much space. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to store your 1080p home movies of your dog here unless you really, really
care about your dog’s home movies.
Anyway, the best high redundant storage in my opinion is Amazon S3. S3 stands for Simple Storage Service. Amazon offers two levels of redundant storage at different price levels. If you want to have the high redundancy, you want to make sure to purchase the more expensive version. Amazon offers 99.999999999% durability of files stored on its S3 service. No, I didn’t have a stroke on the ‘9’ key, that is actually what they provide.
The good thing is that if you are only storing things like photos and the like, this is very cheap. For the first 1TB of storage you purchase, the cost is only 12.5 cents per gigabyte per month. Meaning I can store 50GB for a little over $5 per month. A very good deal for the amount of redundancy they provide.
Best Unlimited Cloud Storage: Backblaze
Nothing is ever truly unlimited, but this is probably as close as you’re going to get. There are several cloud storage providers that offer unlimited storage, and they’re all about the same as far as speed goes, at least in my experience. The reason I chose Backblaze is because they’re very transparent about their storage hardware and facilities on their blog, even going so far as to offer the AutoCAD design of their custom storage enclosure that they use themselves.
This is where I store all my large video files and anything that is too cost prohibitive to store on Amazon S3. They offer a nice backup utility, which makes backing up your stuff extremely easy, even for the most novice users.
There is also a new type of cloud storage and syncing service starting to emerge, mainly due to the advent of modern smartphones. The two most prominent are the offerings from Google and Apple. They both offer about the same thing, and the determination will really depend on what phone OS you use and whether or not you use Gmail or not.
iCloud, Apple’s offering if you couldn’t already tell, offers you an iCloud email address, photo syncing across devices, 5GB of sync storage, and contact syncing among other things. Google offers roughly the same thing. If you’re willing to get a new email address and you have an iPhone or other apple products, iCloud is your best bet; otherwise, I would stick with Google’s offering.
There’s also another player in the yard who practically invented the ability to sync a single folder across multiple machines, or at least made it work. Dropbox has been around for a few years, and they offer a good service. However, now that the main smartphone manufacturers have gotten into the game, it will be interesting to see if Dropbox is squeezed out of its own market.This article is part of an effort to solicit paid content from the Broadband Reports community. If you'd like to participate, please contact us