This is continuation of Part 1 on major cloud backup players in the market today. In Part 1, we discussed some key cloud backup players including : Mozy, Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. In Part 2 we discuss some more popular cloud backup players and what are their business models and offerings.
Major Cloud Backup Players : Jungle Disk
Jungle disk scores quite decently when it comes to user experience. But there are certain features of it, which makes it stand Apart. Jungledisk’s pricing is a true example of pay as you go model. Here the user pays a signup amount of $2 and then $0.15 dollar per month per GB of data stored. It’s more like your pay per second model offered by cellular companies. This scheme comes of very handy very storing a dynamically size varying data. Jungledisk does not owns any data server of its own. It merely acts as an agent between the user and two major service providers AMAZON S3 and RACKSPACE. It allows free and hassle free sharing of data among multiple users making it very attractive for workgroups. It has a special app for iOS based devices, however, there is no accessibility given to Android and blackberry devices.
Jungle disk offers its client both incremental backups and versatile archiving. Meaning each version of the data is stored, i.e. whenever a new change is made into a file, both the old and newer versions are stored. However, the software ensures that in the latest versions of the backup file, only the new changes are sent to the server, which makes the process of backing up very fast.
The encryption utilized by the online backup service is industry standard 256-bit AES encryption.
Furthermore, the service assigns a unique key to each encrypted file. The master key for your data is based on password selected by you; Jungle Disk does not know or store this password to ensure your data is accessible only to you.
To start, you need to sign up with Jungle Disk and then allow Amazon to bill you for the Jungle Disk service. If you already have an account with Amazon.com, this part is fairly easy.
Major Cloud Backup Players : Carbonite
For a new and inexperienced client, who wants to save a large amount of data, Carbonite might be the one to look for. It’s some of the only providers which give an unlimited storage option at $59 per year ($149 for bigger clients). Carbonite however lacks any special feature and its user interface is the most simple and plain as it can be. A major drawback with Carbonite is its lack of versioning, meaning, older copies of files are not saved. It also lacks the facility of sharing and there are no monthly subscription plans.
Carbonite is a good option for those who are looking to store data on a ‘store and forget’ basis. For instance, it can be used for storing one’s archive of photo albums, old log of records etc, i.e. data which only needs saving and no modifications.
Major Cloud Backup Players : Amazon S3
Amazon S3 which stands for Amazon Simple Storage Service is the king when it comes to amount of hardware one owns. Its stock of servers is so great in size that it supports not only the entire Amazon’s websites, own cloud back up services, but also provides storage space for other providers like jungleDisk, DropBox etc.
Amazon S3 is a simple enough cloud storage model, however, it seems to be more oriented towards enterprises and especially for ecommerce markets. It follows its own system of hierarchy. Here the client is supposed to create ‘buckets’ which acts as primary folder under which you can create sub-folders to store data. These buckets can vary from 0 byte to 5 TB. The files stored in these buckets are called ‘object’. Each object can be of max 5GB.
Amazon S3 Pricing Model
To retrieve any object, the user needs to type in a URL for which unique name has to assigned to each bucket, just like username for an email address. For small and medium users, data can be retrieved back using Bittorrent too.
For larger client’s data transfer issues over the internet, Amazon provider services similar to MozyPro’s Data Shuttle. This feature can also be utilised for file sharing among various clients.
A major challenge faced by cloud backup system is the jurisdiction issues related to the country in which the server has been installed. For this, Amazon provides the option to a client to choose the server from the region whose laws and regulations seems viable to its specific needs. For example, if an enterprise thinks that its data is more secured under the laws of EU, then it can choose its preferred region of storage as EU during signup, all its data shall be stored in servers installed on the soil of EU only and never on any server key at other place. However, later client has the flexibility to change the location of its data.
Amazon S3 provides great scalability option to its users. It charges per GB per month and this price per GB also varies with the amount of data stored in a way that the larger you store the more you save.
Major Cloud Backup Players : Box
Cloud backup technology offers two primary purposes, first being offshore data storage and the second being large volume data sharing. Box is a service provider which seems to be heavily focussed on the later.
It has a very easy to understand user interface, that allows you to share files with multiple users. Box provides 5GB of free service. For 25GB, the cost comes to around $10 per month which by present standards is very high. However, it does makes for the excessive costs in the sharing features it allows. The user can share the file with a number of users allowing each user individually his/her rights over the level of modification that can be made and extent of viewership.
Box can really prove very useful to college students who have typically less volume of data but needs to share it among a large group. Box gives the feature of full document search for a text string meaning you can simply type in a key word and the user interface will give you all documents containing that particular keyword. This feature will come really handy for a group of users working on a project.
One feature that is going to be highly useful for monitoring purposes are the reports. Box allows you to generate reports on virtually any aspect of your cloud storage environment. You can monitor access of individual users, review their IP addresses and what files have been edited. the reports are structured into 3 categories: ‘Usage logs’, ‘File Statistics’, and ‘User Statistics’.
Box offers you the option of making a file public and use it like a notice board sort of. For example, you want to put up a notice which is intended to be viewed by a large number of people, you can use box to do so, sort of acting like your own webpage. You can also limit the duration upto which a file can viewed or downloaded or both.
Box also offers interfaces for all mobile devices like iOS, blackberry etc making the data available on the go.
Major Cloud Backup Players : Sugarsync
Cloud backup technology is primarily about two things, storing data on cloud and sharing it. SugarSync takes the sharing part to the next level and that’s why the name, “sync” and not some ‘backup’.
What SugarSync does is that it continuously syncs all the data marked to the cloud. For example, most of the service providers does the syncing once in a day, or that the user might have to manually order to sync the updates. However, with sugar sync, the moment you press the ‘save’ button, the file starts syncing to the cloud. And that’s not the end of it. These changes are further synced with the shared devices too, be it your home computer, smart phone or your peer’s laptop.
SugarSync is not just a cut and dry cloud storage device. For example, if you save a playlist of mp3 from your desktop to sugarsync, you can then stream it online on your phone too. Same goes with images too. A picture gallery once stored on sugarsync needs no particular downloading, it can be viewed and even admitted online only and the corresponding changes synced over all the connected systems. It also provides file versioning upto 5 times and the best part it, the previous versions of data are not included in the user’s share of data storage, only the most recent file’s size is used as the stored data. It also gives the author of the file, right to license other users from the level of accessibility they can have over the shared files, ranging from just viewing to downloading and or editing.
However Sugar Sync suffers from high cost data plans and lack of unlimited data storage. SugarSync will be very useful among work/peer groups who need to share a large amount of data between them.