Sunday, December 5, 2010

Have you been in the Cloud?

Bryan here. I have been laid up all weekend so started looking for a place to move into, well, move my files into anyway. :)   I put together some information and thought I would share with the world.  Don't worrie, Laurie will be back to blogging soon!

I have done a lot of research into cloud storage recently for two reasons: 1.) I experienced my first hard drive failure (which we got very lucky and did not lose the 30 Gigs of family photos) and 2.) I am a treasurer of a non profit with no physical location so we needed to find a way to store and share our documents.

Cloud storage is just a fancy way of saying online storage. The cloud comes into play because your data again is not just backed up onto one hard drive. It is in many places up in the cloud. One computer failing somewhere will not mean the end of your data.  Cloud storage is also very nice now because it is mostly automated! Just select a couple of folders you want to always have backed up and any changes you make to those folder will automatically be saved in your "cloud".

I am going to include links that contain referral codes in them. Most of the services reviewed give 10 to 50% bonuses to the amount of space you get when you are referred as apposed to visiting their sites directly. You can visit the sites directly but you probably will not get the space I am listing below. Ok, ready?

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux (via Wine), iPhone, Android + more
5.5Gb with Free Account
40Gb $4.99/month (30 day free trial)
70Gb $9.99/month (30 day free trial)
110Gb $14.99/month (30 day free trial)
Referral Bonus: 500Mb/free account, 10Gb/paid Account, No Max! (if you invite a friend you earn additional free storage space)
Whats Different: While Linux is not natively supported there is a work around. Can easily stream videos & music, does a real nice job with photo albums, can post to Facebook with a click. Also sharing is awesome!  You can post public links (think Rapid Share) except others do not need an account nor are there download limits or wait times.  You can share files & folders with and without passwords with others. Great to use in a small business environment!  Web based file manipulation is also a nice bonus. Can email files in to be backed up. You also can get email reports to file and folder activity that is shared.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android + more
2.25Gb with Free Account
50Gb $9.99/month 
100Gb $19.99/month 
Referral Bonus: 250Mb/free account, 8Gb Max
Whats different: One of the most common of the group. Has a Linux client. Can share links with people to share specific files with people. 10Gb/day or 250Gb/day for paid account limit for public file downloads.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux (beta), iPhone, iPad
3.5Gb with Free Account
200Gb 49€/year
Referral Bonus: 500Mb/free account (no max listed)
Whats different: Not USA based, but USA supported. Can install on 10 computers with personal account. Can share a file, it basically uploads and emails end user with link to file. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux
3Gb with Free Account
100Gb $10/month
Referral Bonus: 1Gb per referral (3Gb max bonus for free accounts, 20Gb max bonus for paid accounts)!
Whats different: Files are compressed before being uploaded and are uploaded encrypted. This saves you both bandwidth making your transfers quicker and allowing you to save more data within your plan. You can also share files & folders with exactly who you want to. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux (ibackup - no free accounts)
5Gb with Free Account (1 computer limit)
150Gb $4.95/month (1 computer limit)
500Gb $14.95/month (5 computer limit)
Referral Bonus: No signup bonuses. Affiliate program, 25% of revenue from referred accounts
Whats different: 2 clicks to start backing up the most common files. Supports backing up mapped and external hard drives as well. Web access to files. iDrive can also keep up to 30 versions of a file for you. 

Compatibility: Windows, iPhone, Android, BB 
5Gb with Free Account (25mb file size limit)
25Gb $9.99/month (1Gb file size limit)
50Gb $19.99/month (1Gb file size limit)
Referral Bonus: None found
Whats different: Personal accounts severly limited in features, Business accounts have $15/month/user fees. Google apps integration. Stats and tracking of files. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris
Free backup to another local computer
$54/year for 1 computer, unlimited space
$100/year for all family computers, unlimited space
Referral Bonus: None found
Whats different: Crashplan also uses smart compression to upload your files. When a file changes it only updates the changed part. If you do not need online backup, it can automate backing up to another local computer or external hard drive that is on site. Transfers are also done encrypted. Bandwidth is throttled to watch your activity, putting your computer to work when you are not working on it. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Referral Bonus: No referral bonus (Affiliate Program managed by Commission Junction)
Whats different: Unlimited backup space! Access to files via internet. Cannot share files/folders. - very similar to Carbonite,  $54.45/year or $4.95/month options - $2/month for 5Gb - $3/month 5Gb free then $.15/Gb (rackspace cloud files) - 2Gb Free only, 2 computers only - 2Gb Free. 20Gb for 2.99/month. Windows install in beta - 1Gb free. Interesting option to trade storage on you machine for storage on other machines. Have an extra 100Gb disk on all the time? Use it to earn 100Gb of storage on the cloud.

In the end I favor SugarSync because of the advanced sharing options and plans available. While a linux client is not directly available, using Wine seems to work fine.If you are going to try them out go for one of their upgraded plans for free for 30 days. I would do AT LEAST the size of your photos folder!   Side note: Flickr, Picasaweb, and similar sites do not store your photos in their original size. If you do lose your originals, you are now limited to just the smaller versions that they kept for you.

if you want to share a folder with family members or friends that were on that vacation with you, SugarSync makes it incredible easy to share just that folder with people.  You need to try them out!

Get it here:

1 comment:

Cate said...

I love the idea of the cloud. I was using Yahoo Briefcase, way back when! I will have to check out SugarSync. I've been using DropBox, which is nice. You know what it's great for, for me, is knitting patterns. I upload them and then I have access whenever I want.