Today, we find almost every major player has ventured into providing cloud storage services. The list is endless. However, if you pick up only the top ones then we have big players name like Amazon, Apple, DropBox, Google, OpenDrive, Microsoft and Egnyte who have already been providing cloud storage related services to the individuals as well as enterprise customers. As the basic concept of cloud storage goes – each one of the providers is expected to provide a facility to backup and store the data files onto a common server which is accessible 24/7. Another common feature will be the facility to access the stored files from anywhere and any device. That’s what is cloud storage all about. However, these providers may vary in terms of free storage, pricing & plans and some specific features like sharing, file types, accessibility.
The entry of so many players is only confusing the end users who are already struggling to understand the major differences. Hence, it is very essential to know and understand the clear comparison between the services and features provided by each one of these.
Out of all, I have decided to take up only the top and well know providers in cloud storage. For the purpose of this comparison, we will be discussing about Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon Cloud, Apple iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive and OpenDrive.
You can use the below mentioned jump tags for an easy navigation.
- Amazon Cloud Drive.
- Apple iCloud.
- Microsoft Windows SkyDrive.
- Google Cloud Storage.
- Google Drive.
- Egnyte HybridCloud.
- Tabular Comparison.
DropBox offer free storage space of 2GB in its basic plan. Users can upgrade to premium plans – Pro 50, Pro 100 and Teams which offers 50 GB, 100GB and 1TB+ space quota respectively. The cost for Pro 50 and Pro 100 plans are $9.99 and $19.99 per month. However, if you go for an annual payment mode, the same will cost $99 and $199 per year. Teams plan is more suited for corporate customers and business with small teams. This has a centralized admin control as well as billing. You can easily share documents, slides, photos, music and other files with your colleagues and clients.
DropBox is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Mobile users.
Take a look at the images of how your dropbox account interface may appear to you. It has a clean and simple looking interface.
You can perform various actions on the stored files and data like rename, delete, download, sort, copy, move etc. Same functions are available when you do a right-click on any chosen file.
DropBox also offers a neat photo viewer with thumbnail functions which enables users to preview the images and videos without actually downloading the same.
Drag and drop as well as multiple files selections makes it easy to move files between dropbox and computer. Users can even use keyboard shortcuts instead of mouse to perform all the functions.
DropBox provides search functionality to search within your stored data and files.
It has an Android apps which you can use to upload photos and video in original size and quality. Content from a dropbox android apps get saved into a private folder named Camera Uploads. Application’s iOS version is also coming soon for iPhone users.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon cloud drive offers 5GB of free space in the basic plan. You can use any web browser to upload and download files and data to Amazon cloud drive. Best part is that if you are an existing Amazon MP3 store customer, then whatever you purchase gets saved automatically to cloud. You can either download or play online anytime in future. Best thing is that the space occupied by your purchased MP3 will not be counted and this will be over and above 5GB of free space.
Paid plans are available with storage space from 20GB to 1000GB which cost from $20 to $1000 per year. Each plan offers unlimited access from any computer.
For limited time, all the paid plans offers unlimited storage space for music files. You can play and listen to the music from anywhere using Amazon cloud player.
Apple iCloud offers 5GB of free storage with the option to buy more at the cost of $20 per year for 10GB, $40 per year for 20GB and $100 per year for 50GB. However, as per Apple, the free storage of 5GB is sufficient for most of the users primarily because of how it stores the data. The purchased music, movies, apps, books, and TV shows, as well as Photo Stream, don’t count against free storage. iCloud comes already integrated with all the new Apple devices – iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC.
Apple iCloud does all the syncing pretty automatically and you get access to your music, movies, apps, photos, email, contacts, and calendars up to date across all your devices.
All the purchases made via iTunes automatically gets saved to iCloud.
Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive
Microsoft’s SkyDrive is probably the only one which offers highest free storage space out of the whole lot. With SkyDrive, you can get 25GB of free storage space. SkyDrive has a sharing features which makes it possible for more than one person to work on same doc or excel file. If the file is owned by some one else then he/she has to share it with you so that both of you can work together on the same file.
Most of office features are available online in the SkyDrive itself which makes it easy to collaborate with others in group without anyone needing to install the office locally.
With SkyDrive, it is possible email the link of your photos and files stored on the drive and you can even post the links as a part of status updates on social networking sites like Facebook etc.
SkyDrive’s unique document versioning system keeps track of not only the latest but all the previous versions as well. You can find who changed what and when.
SkyDrive has a free OneNote apps for Windows phone, iPhone and Android integrated already. This makes it possible to edit and share notes and to-do lists from anywhere.
SkyDrive has another unique feature called as SkyCMD. It is nothing but a command line interface of the drive and you can use usual DOS commands to interact with the drive without using any touch or even mouse.
It has a mobile apps for Windows phone, iPhone and other phones which makes it possible to access photos, videos and other files from wherever you want.
Google Cloud Storage
Under special promotional offer, Google is offering 5 GB of free storage on its cloud. This is applicable only for the first project that uses Google cloud storage. Other limits that are enforced in this are – 25 GB of download data, 25 GB of upload data, 30,000 GET, HEAD requests, 3,000 PUT, POST, GET bucket**, GET service** requests.
if you are feeling confused with the technical terms being used above, then let me tell you that it is because Google cloud storage is an enterprise service specially for developers who need to use google’s scalable storage and network infra along with powerful authentication and data sharing features.
Google is soon coming up with another cloud storage for individual users. The new service named Google drive which is getting launched soon will offer 5 GB of free storage.
Google Drive has been launched by Google and is offering 5GB of free storage for everyone. However, users can upgrade to paid plans if they need more storage space. The paid plans being offered by Google are – 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. The paid customers automatically gets higher (25 GB) of storage for their Gmail account as well. Some of the interesting features of Google drive include – sharing and collaboration, easy keyword & filter based search, integration with third party apps like send faxes, edit videos as well as facility to attach the files to posts in Google+ and as email attachments.
Its again a cloud service specially for enterprise customers with no free storage as such though it does offers a free trial period for whichever plan you want to buy. Egnyte HybridCloud has three plans viz. Group, Office and Enterprise which offers 150 GB, 1 TB and 3 TB of storage space respectively. The cost for Group and Office plans is $24.99 and $44.99 per month respectively. For enterprise, it is charged at $12.99 per employee per month.
It enables local employees, remote employee and business partners to access, share and use files from any web enabled device from any where.
OpenDrive offers two types of plans – Personal and Business. In Personal, the basic plan offers 5 GB of free storage while business plan starts from $15 for 5 users. Another, differentiating factor here is that with OpenDrive, you have an option to make your own custom plan as per your requirements.
So for example, personal users can get a premium account with 100 GB of storage space at $ 5 per month. This 100 GB plan comes with 25 GB per day download limit, 3 users access and 1 GB of maximum file size. However, you can customize the plan by opting for a different no. of users requirement or download limit or even storage space. So, if you opt for 5 users instead of 3, then cost becomes $ 7 per month instead of $ 5.
The features of OpenDrive Drive includes file sharing, collaboration, automated backups, online file editing, search and file syncing.
Comparison Between Top Cloud Storage Service Providers
For comparison purposes, we will not take into account the providers who offers only enterprise solutions. We will compare only those from the above list of best cloud storage service provider which offers personal and individual accounts. We will compare them based on different parameters and features.
Pricing and Plans Comparison
Lowest Paid Plan
|DropBox||2 GB||$99/Year, 50 GB Storage|
|Amazon||5 GB||$20/Year, 20 GB|
|SkyDrive||25 GB||Free, 25GB Storage|
|Apple iCloud||5 GB||$20/Year, 15 GB Storage|
|OpenDrive||5 GB||$50/Year, 100 GB|
|Google Drive||5 GB||$2.49/Month, 25 GB|
Features Comparison (Google Drive vs DropBox vs Amazon Cloud vs Windows SkyDrive vs Apple iCloud vs OpenDrive)
|View and Edit Files||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Unlimited Computer Access||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile Access (iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, Mobile Browser (MB))||All except Windows||Android, MB||Windows, iPhone, MB||iPhone, iPad||iPhone, iPad, MB||Android,
iPhone & iPad (in progress)
|Remote Access to Files||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Drag and Drop||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited File Size||Yes||No||No|
|File Types Supported||All||All||All||All||All||All|
|Custom Link Sharing||Yes||Yes|
|Recover Deleted Files||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Set Folder Permissions||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|User Manual /Knowledge base||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Stay tuned and watch more updates on this space as we continue to compare more cloud storage service providers.