Amazon S3Since the beginning of this blog in 2008, I’ve written many times about Amazon and Amazon Web Services. I use AWS tools like S3 every day for mission critical web projects and applications. I back up sites there, I serve media from there, I compute there. Even with all that, I barely scratch the surface when it comes to AWS products. There are so many products they continue to roll out, including their new business analytics tool, it’s difficult to keep up with.

For me, the main product I use is S3, their Simple Storage Service. Coupled with their CloudFront content delivery network, it’s allowed me to rest easy knowing that my site and app assets, from images to CSS and javascript files, serve quickly and efficiently. For the many years I’ve used it, I’ve watched Amazon cut the price they charge for each gigabyte stored. As they get more efficient and better at what they do, they pass those savings on their customers.

Today is no different. Starting Dec. 1, 2016, Amazon is again reducing the pricing of storage in S3. For several areas, the cost per GB will be $0.023 for the first 50 TB you store. Two cents a gigabyte. Crazy.

I think its safe to say at this point that cloud storage is now a commodity. If you’re not leveraging these services for your university or business web app or site, you’re missing a great opportunity

I think you’d be surprised to know that many large service providers use Amazon Web Services to power their infrastructure, even big names like Apple.

Yes, much of Apple’s iCloud offering is powered by Amazon. Morgan Stanley estimates that Apple spends $1 billion yearly on Amazon’s web services.

Same goes for Netflix. Rather than make huge investments in IT and infrastructure, using AWS ensures they can scale, soI can watch Black Mirror with no buffering in beautiful 4k. You can watch a video case study on Netflix’s AWS usage.

The list goes on and on: Spotify, AirBNB, Slack, Major League Baseball–they all use AWS because the service is robust and the costs are low.

 

 

 

Barracuda Networks is a company most of us in the tech industry have heard of. In case you haven’t, here’s a bit about them:

Barracuda Networks, Inc. offers industry-leading solutions designed to solve mainstream IT problems – efficiently and cost effectively – while maintaining a level of customer support and satisfaction second to none. Our products span three distinct markets, including: 1) content security, 2) networking and application delivery, as well as 3) data storage, protection and disaster recovery.

They’ve launched a new cloud storage service called Copy, which is similar to existing programs from Dropbox, Box, Google and other storage services which I’ve talked about here.

Copy screenshotCopy is marketing itself as more secure and protected than other cloud services, since they can leverage the security background and experience of Barracuda. Given the recent issues with Dropbox and larger issues like Heartbleed, it’s an interesting marketing angle.

Copy gives you 15GB of free storage to start with, which is well above the 2GB you get with Dropbox.

The service itself runs via the web, Mac app, Windows app, iOS, Android and Linux.

On my Mac, Copy works just like Dropbox with a folder I can install and drag files to and from. Syncing happens quickly and the files and their transit are encrypted using AES256.

Copy ScreenshotLike other services, you can right-click on an item and get sharing and public links for items, which is handy. We’re always sharing files, screenshots and more in the office using a myriad of different services. I didn’t see a feature like Dropbox’s “automatically be the place for screenshots and put the public link in your clipboard,” it’s not that big a deal to find the file and right-click to get the link.

One feature I think is interesting is if you are sharing a large file with multiple people, you can split the size “hit” with each user. If you’re sharing a 1GB file with someone on Dropbox, you both download it and are charged with 1GB worth of space. Copy lets you split that storage hit so the 1GB file you are sharing with 4 people only counts as 250MB towards each person’s quota.

So where does Copy make its money? They’re banking again on the Barracuda name and the hope that IT organizations will see the security experience Barracuda has and let it be an approved cloud sharing service. Teams can be as small as 5 people (using the free accounts) all the way up to 30 users for $2,697 per year, total. As of last fall’s prices, those same 30 users would cost $3,920 at Dropbox and $5,400 at Box.

You can sign up for Copy and try it out using this link and you’ll get an additional 5GB of storage once you install their app, and I’ll get some extra storage as well.

Provider2GB5GB10GB15GB20GB50GB100GB1TB
Google DriveFREE$1.99$9.99
Barracuda CopyFREE
DropboxFREE$9.99
Apple iCloudFREE$1.66$3.33$8.33
Box.netFREE$5.00$15
Microsoft SkyDriveFREE$2.08$4.16
SpiderOakFREE$10.00
SugarSync$7.49$9.99$55.00

Google StorageYesterday, Google lowered the price of its cloud storage product, Google Drive. And by lowered, I mean changed the game.

Their new prices:

SpaceMonthly Cost
100GB$1.99
1TB$9.99
10TB$99.99
20TB$199.99
30TB$299.99

I would guess the vast majority of Google users don’t need the 20 or 30 TB option, but that 100GB for $2 USD a month is very, very compelling. That’s enough to back up video files, music, photos and much more.

Google has made cloud storage a commodity, and I’m sure companies like Dropbox, who I am a daily user of, are probably not very happy this morning. Through various promotions and referrals, I have 25GB of storage at Dropbox, of which I’m using about half. I like Dropbox because it just works. I save a file at work, I get home, it’s there. I open my phone, file is there.

But the biggest fear of any startup, I’m sure, is seeing one of the giants, such as Google, Amazon or Apple get into your space. Dropbox’s cost of $10 per month for 100GB suddenly seems very high. They’re built on Amazon’s S3 backend, and just can’t afford the scalability and just sheer giant size of computing power that Google has.

One competitor in this space that shouldn’t be ignored is Amazon’s Cloud Drive. They’ve got massive computing backend, that I too am a regular customer of. They offer a cloud drive product that’s compelling and promises a similar desktop/app/phone concept.

Let’s take a look at the cloud storage landscape, offerings and pricing. It should give you an idea of the shift that just happened.

Provider2GB5GB10GB15GB20GB50GB100GB1TB
Google DriveFREE$1.99$9.99
Amazon Cloud FilesFREE$0.83$2.08$4.16$41.66
DropboxFREE$9.99
Apple iCloudFREE$1.66$3.33$8.33
Box.netFREE$5.00$15
Microsoft SkyDriveFREE$2.08$4.16
SpiderOakFREE$10.00
SugarSync$7.49$9.99$55.00

It will be interesting to see who responds and how they respond, especially giants like Amazon and Microsoft.