<![if !vml]><![endif]>There 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.".
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
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".
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.
to cancel the automatic renewal and end our short lived
relationship was so hard I expected to come home to a boiled
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
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