The price of (personal) cloud storage

It was a big day for cloud storage providers.

First, Microsoft made several changes to its SkyDrive service. The main things that users will care about are the apps for various operating systems and devices and the changes in the storage limits and prices (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/04/23/the-next-chapter-for-skydrive-personal-cloud-storage-for-windows-available-anywhere.aspx).

Let me pause to say that if you have been using (or have ever used) SkyDrive, you should go to https://skydrive.live.com/ManageStorage and ensure that you are signed up to keep your 25GB of free storage space. Users who had used the service on or before April 22nd are eligible to keep that space, but if you were using less than 4GB, you must sign up to keep all of your space. If you do not, you are automatically dropped down to the new 7GB free limit.

Second, Google released its long anticipated Google Drive. The service offers 5GB of free storage and additional plans that go up to 1TB, for a fee (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/introducing-google-drive-yes-really.html).

Once I’ve had a chance to fully use both services and compare them (technically / technologically) to other services on the market, I wanted to take a few minutes to look at the price comparison between each service, on a GB by GB basis. The chart below compares those costs. Note that I am assuming 25GB for the free starting point for SkyDrive and its add-ons are based on that number.

The dots on each line indicate what plans are available for that provider.  For example, Box has plans at 5GB, 25GB, and 50GB.

Comparison of cloud storage costs, per GB of storage per year. (SkyDrive starting at 25GB)

Click the chart for a larger view.

The chart is based on the 25GB starting size for SkyDrive.  If you start it at 7GB, however, SkyDrive still comes out less expensive than everything else after the 20GB mark (it is only more expensive than DropBox up to 20GB, if you’ve maxed out your DropBox referrals).

Obviously, price per GB per year shouldn’t be your only consideration. There may be other restrictions, like file size (the Box free plan only allows files of 25MB) and there are certainly feature and app differences among all of the offerings.  Then there is how people feel about each company’s reputation and practices.

Here is the direct pricing information for each service, as of today:

SkyDrive
25GB = Free (if a user before April 22, otherwise 7GB free)
+20GB = $10 / year (total of 45GB or 27GB)
+50GB = $25 / year (total of 75GB or 57GB)
+100GB = $50 / year (total of 125GB or 107GB)
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/04/23/the-next-chapter-for-skydrive-personal-cloud-storage-for-windows-available-anywhere.aspx

Google Drive
5GB = Free
25GB = $2.49 / month
100GB = $4.99 / month
1TB = $49.99 / month
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/introducing-google-drive-yes-really.html

Dropbox
2GB = Free (plus up to 18GB in referrals)
50GB = $9.99 / month or $99 / year (plus up to 32GB in referrals)
100GB = $19.99 / month or $199 / year (plus up to 32GB in referrals)
https://www.dropbox.com/pricing

Box
5GB = Free
25GB = $9.99 / month
50GB = $19.99 / month
http://www.box.com/pricing/

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