From: Craig Phillips [] on behalf of Craig Phillips []

Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:26 PM


Subject: Cocktail Talk - The Clouds and I


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Cocktail Talk


March 2012

Cocktail Talk


Welcome to CN Consulting's "Cocktail Talk".


Cocktail Talk is a casual monthly newsletter intended to arm you with amusing bits and bytes of information on whats happening in the computer world. Topics sure to break the ice and capture an audience at many a social or business event.


Cocktail Talk is archived on


Currently, on Cocktail Talk -  The Cloud and I


Cocktail TalkThere is a resurgence of interest in "the Cloud". Not so much about what it does, more about how to shop for it. 


The Cloud is loosely and vaguely defined. We're not even supposed to worry our pretty little heads about it. Just draw a cloud and write "A miracle occurs." inside it. 


Your Cloud is anybody's computer center  anywhere in the world that you happen to hire. More often than not it's just to store your files and pictures in order to share them with others, and in case something happens to your PC. If you have more than one PC you can share them with yourself keeping all your PCs in sync.


Storage is cheap, almost free. Losing the Western Digital plant in the Philippines raised the price on hard drives and everything using them for the moment (year) but prices will recede along with the water. So where's the money in storing people's data?


A 2 Terabyte hard disk will cost the average shopper about $150. Cloud companies will charge the average shopper $150 to store 100 Gigabytes for a year. That's 20 average shoppers at $150 a year on each disk, $3,000. Hard disks have a 5 Year Manufacturer Warranty. Multiply by five and there's $15,000 to be made over the expected life of each drive. Not even the inside traders who shorted Fannie Mae (FNM) got that kind of return on investment.


To use Cloud services you have to buy a license.  Licenses come in two flavors, call them Site and Seat.


Site licensing is like sharing pizza. You order some pizzas and hope everyone gets enough. Seat licensing is like China Buffet. Everyone pays the same and it's off to the trough for all you can eat. Let's take a look at who does what and how.


SugarSync* uses Site licensing. SugarSync charges about $1 per GB per year with a few different packages intended to fit most people's needs. SugarSync is fast with friendly user interfaces and has iPad and iPhone Apps. You can sync your office PC, home PC, notebook, iPhone, iPad, Domestic Partner, Significant Other and Glen Close all under one license which includes support.


Carbonite** uses Seat licensing. You can sync as much data as you want for $60 from a single PC, although you are encouraged to buy into the $150 license to get additional things, like support. You can sync unlimited data to your office PC, home PC, notebook, Domestic Partner, Significant Other and Glen Close for $60 each. Maybe $150. It adds up fast. The iPhone and iPad Apps are "Free" and have a very nice look to them.


Dropbox uses Site licensing like SugarSync, at twice the price. It also has iPhone and iPad Apps called CloudOn. CloudOn says it has support for Office 2010 and it may, but CloudOn didn't open one single file that I asked it to. The difference between Dropbox and the others is that they push the idea of collaboration between licensed users. I and mine under my license share with you and yours under your license, and Glen Close. They do offer a free 2 GB edition which is very nice of them.


SugarSync, Carbonite, and Dropbox  try to differentiate between individuals and companies and would like very much if you would pay a premium if you are a company. Someone has to pay for those free 2 GB accounts don't you know. There may be some features I'm unaware of that make claiming company status good idea, but otherwise these products are geared towards the individual.


Gillware Data* has a good reputation in the backup and recovery industry. Gillware Data offers Cloud Backup, there isn't sharing or iApps, but it's in the cloud and since we're talking price they have to be included, for comic relief. Gillware uses Site and Seat together but with a couple twists. Hold on tight.


You're only backing up one PC so you have a Seat license but you're also paying for space at 35 cents per GB per month. So that's $4.20 per GB a year which is twice as much as Dropbox which is twice as much as SugarSync. But wait! There's more. They say that your data will be compressed and you should expect a 3 to 1 ratio which would be $1.40 per GB per year. SugarSync and Dropbox charge a flat annual rate for up to an amount. Gillware charges somewhere between $1.40 and $4.20 per GB for somewhere between 100 and 1,000 GB. That translates to somewhere between $140 and  $4,200 per year.


Not likely you'd back up 1,000 GB unless you actually where a company, and that, is their market, and where they excel.


Trend Micro, best known for their AntiVirus Software, sells SafeSync and is a very direct competitor to SugarSync. . SafeSync has everything the others do and more. They charge both ways, want more for options that should be included, don't have a set price, and would like you to pay a premium for being a company. Trend embodies what I like to call "Shut up and pay for it.".  


I bought several Trend Micro SafeSync Site licenses with unlimited storage and automatic renewal for $60 a year. SugarSync would have been easier on me, but with clients using up to 250 GB price was an issue.


Trend Micro's support knowledge base knew SafeSync existed and how you could buy it but that was about it, online chat was an endless restatement of restatements never leading to a suggestion much less a solution, and eMail replies were slower than snail mail only to end in text book "blame the user". 


A month before the first license's automatic renewal Trend sent an email saying they were going to renew using a new rate schedule. The rate schedule wasn't provided but even if the cost doubled it would only be ten bucks a month. Hidden in an FAQ deep in Trend Micro's wasteland house of mirrors and dead ends was the truth. Trend was going to charge Seat and Site licensing with each license I needed costing $500-$900 instead of $60.


Trying to cancel the automatic renewal and end our short lived relationship was so hard I expected to come home to a boiled rabbit.


Since then Trend has slapped a pretty new face on their SafeSync offering, but beauty is skin-deep, rotten is to the core and bad to the bone.  


At first look, on price, Trend and Carbonite compare pretty well to SugarSync, until extras and add-ons. You can get on that elevator if you want, you can ride with Glen Close if you want, I just  hope you like rabbit. 



Gimme Sugar, that's my call, and that's Cocktail Talk.




Thank you for reading,



Craig Phillips

CN Consulting, Inc.



 * (Cocktail Talk January 2011)

** (Cocktail Talk January 2011, January 2010)




CN Consulting, Inc -
Computer Consulting for Business!



CN Consulting Inc. (CNCI) is an independent consulting company formed in 1990 and located within easy reach of both Chicago and Milwaukee.


CNCI maintains a select client base providing consulting services concerning the use of information technology. We persistently look for advantage to our clients in added value and reduced cost made available by advancing technology.


CNCI does not have financial interest in any given product or product line. We evaluate current and emerging technologies solely based on their benefit to our clients. CNCI implements the solutions it recommends and readily partners with companies that offer products and services to the advantage of our clients. CNCI offers complete client support with singular accountability.


We maximize the benefit of our clients' existing technology, systems, and platforms while integrating the benefits provided by new technology.


Business Continuity and Business Development are our goals with Continuity being the foundation of Development.


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