There is a very important question on the cloud storage market today: are cloud storage prices on the rise or are they going down? There seem to be arguments pointing to both these facts, so which should we trust? If you look at the big picture, it may seem that the subscription prices are dropping, however, that does not necessarily translate to lower prices per gigabyte?
What are the prices of cloud storage services today? How much do you actually have to pay for one gigabyte of cloud storage? What’s the best price you can find and what is the worst one? More importantly: have this prices gone up in the last year? Has the number of gigabytes for the money gone down? We’ll be trying to answer all of these questions here.
Rise and Fall of Cloud Storage Prices
We’re going to start with that last question. Quite recently, one good example of this has been Microsoft’s consumer cloud OneDrive. The cloud storage service that comes stock with Windows versions 8, 8.1, and 10, has been pushed by IT&C giant since forever (literally August 2007). Back then, it was named Windows Live Folders. It didn’t take long for the first name change to occur. By May 2008, we had a pretty stable service in SkyDrive, providing users with 5 gigabytes of free cloud storage.
Later on, however, the service jumped to 25 GB, then back to 10 GB (with various options for students, Windows users, and past users). Then, a complicated lawsuit with BSkyB resulted in the name we know today – OneDrive. Along with the rebranding came another limit for the free service – 15 GB. The premium users still got 1TB free storage until October 2014 when all Office 365 payers got unlimited storage. That didn’t last, since, in November of the next year, the 1TB limit was reinstated. Furthermore, just now Microsoft have reduced the free storage of their consumer cloud to just 5GB. Millions of users have now until the end of this year do save their (up to) 10GB elsewhere.
The results? Uproar. About 70.000 people were outraged when Microsoft announced the latest changes back in November 2015. Yet, Microsoft’s OneDrive is only a small example of a more complex issue. Its younger, brawnier brother, Azure, also upped its prices beginning August 1, 2015. IBM on the other hand, another contender on the corporate cloud services market, cut its prices July 2, 2015.
More recently, Bitcasa changed its policy and starting May 20 it will only provide its services for corporate users, choosing to discontinue its consumer cloud storage service. That means that one of the most expensive cloud storage services (for which people paid $10.00 per month!) and with whom thousands of users had free plans (which included 5GB free) would go off the market. If I were one of the people who used their free services, I would feel disrespected. Moreover, if I was one of the people who paid a monthly subscription, I would feel downright cheated.
However, what are we (presumed cloud storage know-it-alls) to understand from this constant shift in cloud storage prices and limits?
A Question of Inconsistency
We can see this by doing a quick Google search. If we look for cloud storage prices increasing, we will find reputable sources arguing to that extent. Likewise, were we to search for cloud storage prices decreasing, we would come across articles arguing the latter. This goes well with the trend we’ve touched upon earlier: cloud storage prices and offers are a modern Wild West of IT&C world. Some rise, some fall, some keep steady only to go off the radar completely later on.
While changes are welcome and nowadays the rule of law in the world of the internet, we can’t keep but feel a bit conservative to this approach of changing the rules of the game on every corporate whim. The results, in the long run, are against the consumer. As a regular user of consumer-oriented cloud storage services, I’m not that keen on moving my files from one provider to the other just because one of my current cloud storage providers has decided to cut 150 GB off of my plan.
As a rule, we can now distinguish 4 trends in cloud storage computing:
- A company raises the subscription cost but also increases storage space.
- A company decreases the price of their service but also decreases storage space.
- A company increases the subscription plan and decreases storage space.
- A company decreases the price but increases storage space.
These four decisions stand at the base of all cloud storage companies. They are applicable to both business cloud solutions as well as consumer cloud solutions. The first case usually happens when a company decides it can no longer support so many users. The second case means the company realizes that the cloud servers are becoming unstable so a decrease is user-allocated space is in order. The third case is by far the boldest one and generally means that the company is going through difficult times. The fourth case is the most user-friendly one but is becoming increasingly rare.
The problem of increasing cloud storage prices is far more complicated than this, but instead of changes in prices and plans, we would propose some other tactics so that companies can get around difficulties and complications:
- Rule out subscription price changes and storage space changes. Especially both at the same time, this process will no doubt change the customer’s perspective over the service. If the service is also changing plans against consumer interests, the result will more often than not be a decrease in public perception.
- Prevent cloud storage exploits. Believe it or not, one of the most common reasons for companies’ decreasing storage space rests in the exploits done by consumers. A shocking amount of people use cloud services as places for their movie collections, for humongous video files, and use the cloud folders as typical folders on their computers. This causes incredible load for the company hosting the files. Still, why not find a way to prevent such exploits instead of punishing all the users for the mischiefs of some?
- Add extremely affordable plans. A lot of people would like to up their cloud storage by even a few gigabytes – why not give them the option to personalize their cloud storage size and plan? This could mean profit for the company and an extremely convenient system for some users who don’t feel like paying for 100GB, but would want about half of that.
No matter the solution, the problem is still here: cloud storage prices are inconsistent and users (especially those using multiple cloud storage providers) are getting increasingly annoyed by all these changes. What do you think about cloud storage prices? Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments!