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Review: 7 Cloud Storage Services

If you’re looking for an alternative to Google Docs that doesn’t do automated backup but could serve as a decent cloud storage resource, check out In a matter of seconds, Box has you in a live account and creating an initial storage folder. You then decide if you want the folder to be private (“just me”) or shared. If the latter, then you enter the email addresses of invitees and designate them as editors or viewers. Wait a moment and you’ll get an email confirming the folder creation. This initial folder makes sure you have at least one storage target. You can add more people to your group through the Collaborators tab in the main interface.

Box’s UI is respectably clean and intuitive, although this is helped by often not being able to multi-task, as you might if uploading files and managing collaborators simultaneously. An Updates area will show you recent file changes and accesses. All Files is where you’ll probably spend most of your time if you approach Box for storage.  A Java upload tool makes drag-and-drop file additions into folders a breeze, and if you create a Web Doc while browsing inside of a folder, that’s where it’ll get saved. The upside here is ease of document creation, but we should would have preferred that it get saved as an RTF rather than Box’s proprietary .webdoc format.

Not least of all, Box has its OpenBox directory, essentially a collection of widgets and plug-ins for the cloud service. You’ll find applets for Twitter, FedEx,, iPad, iPhone, LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail, Google Docs, Outlook, and many more. Once you’ve added an applet, you can access its functionality from the task pull-down located to the right of each file in the All Files area.

In our first batch upload with the free service, transfers started out uploading at roughly 50 KB/sec, but then settled into about 15 KB/sec, reminding of the nostalgic days of dial-up. Fortunately, a “Hide Pop-Up” button lets uploading continue in the background. Moreover, given the data we moved, we suspect Box may be underestimating its true transfer rates.

Veering deeper into Google Docs territory, Box gives you a document editing tool that covers all the basics except image resizing. The editor appears in a new browser tab, keeping your main storage area available. By default, all images you embed within documents dump into a folder called Web Document Images—a handy short-cut if you repeatedly use the same graphics.

We found Box’s doc viewer to be excellent. In fact, this author is a bit shy about admitting that he still uses WordPerfect (for a writer, it’s just better than Word, period), but Box incredibly supports viewing of Corel’s native WPD format along with Adobe PDF, AI, and PSD as well as Open Office and MS Office formats. Google Docs won’t even try to display WPD files. Above a viewed document, you’ll find a File Options pull-down menu for generating shareable document URLs. If you subscribe to Box’s Business or Enterprise plans, you can password protect the links and give recipients direct access to the file in the cloud for editing rather than just viewing it. These accounts also give you version tracking.

As a document storage and sharing resource, the free Box “Lite” service is easy and impressive, and the poky uploads shouldn’t offend too much. If you want to use Box for multimedia and general storage, you’ll want to upgrade beyond the free 1GB teaser. Step into 10GB for $9.95 per month, which will also boost both your upload speed and your file size limits from 25MB to 1GB. (Hard to imagine much video applicability with a 25MB file cap.) Business accounts charge $15/user/month, add 256-bit encryption, reporting, full-text search, a 2GB file size limit, and 15GB of storage per user.

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  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 24, 2010 4:05 PM
    I've been using Amazon S3 cloud storage for several years now ( ), along with JungleDisk for access to it. This gives you multiple access methods (web, as a drive attached to your PC etc), can set backup strategies, etc, never had a problem with it.

    Pricing for S3 is 15c per Gb, so 10 Gb is $1.50, much lower than say You then pay a licence for JungleDisk as well.

  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 25, 2010 12:31 AM
    Looking forward to an article explaining cloud computing does or doesn’t make sense for consumers and small businesses.
  • 1 Hide
    dataDINK , April 26, 2010 2:17 PM
    Thank thor, the god of progress for his incredible wisdom for raid, rack mounted servers, and increasingly great ammounts of redundancy.
  • 0 Hide
    williamvw , April 26, 2010 6:17 PM
    JohnnyLuckyLooking forward to an article explaining cloud computing does or doesn’t make sense for consumers and small businesses.
    Stay tuned. You'll see it soon on Tom's Hardware. ;-)
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , April 26, 2010 9:26 PM
    Remember when cloud hosting was 50MB, and of course that seemed ridiculous with dial-up upload speeds? I even remember the email they sent out when they went under and shut down the site. Heck, I remember when yahoo upgraded from 3-7MB of free email storage. I was actually able to stop deleting emails for a few months.

    Ah... memories.

    Still, some of these might be good ideas, but get rid of the porn, and how many people have 10+ GB of data that really needs to be stored in this manner that isn't already shared on Flickr or YouTube? I guess that's the topic of the next article though.
  • -1 Hide
    annymmo , April 27, 2010 8:30 PM

    Hello dependability.
    Because we the sheep people can't get enough of letting our data in other people's lap.
    Haven't we outsourced enough?
    The redundancy is moronic. Look at the prices for hardware these days. These cloud things are just to make you dependent on it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2010 1:11 AM
    Why not Crashplan? It's just like Mozy, Carbonite, Backblaze, and whatnot, but just ... better. Smarter about what to backup/dedupe detection, supports backing up to friends as an alternative or complement, better handling when your internet goes down when transferring that 4GB file, reasonably fast speeds...
  • 1 Hide
    gilbertfh , May 4, 2010 3:54 PM
    Remember the days where you could select the level you wanted an application loaded at. I know there are some still out there that do it like MS Office but imagine if you could install straight to the online server and run it from there... Utilizing MS Office servers they would always be up to date have the latest patches and compatability or if you choose and like to maintain control you could install to your harddrive and manually update. Same goes for games and such... with a lot of new games requiring a live connection anyway may as well let them pay for the storage. As technology advances and connection speeds get faster the delay from opening a program and it loading to memory will become negligible.
  • 0 Hide
    gilbertfh , May 4, 2010 3:57 PM
    Oh and yes I know this article is cloud storage not cloud computing but there is a fine line between the two.
  • 0 Hide
    zaznet , May 10, 2010 5:55 PM
    JohnnyLuckyLooking forward to an article explaining cloud computing does or doesn’t make sense for consumers and small businesses.

    This article shows a cloud computing as a end service (file storage) and not just the total idea of cloud computing. I would like to have seen Amazon S3 included in the comparison as it is a total cloud computing solution but includes file storage options.
  • 1 Hide
    starryman , May 14, 2010 3:52 PM
    zaznetThis article shows a cloud computing as a end service (file storage) and not just the total idea of cloud computing. I would like to have seen Amazon S3 included in the comparison as it is a total cloud computing solution but includes file storage options.

    I agree with Zaznet... storage in the "cloud" isn't anything big. There were no advantages or differentiations made between regular old online storage and cloud storage. There's really no difference. The entire article as whole is a bit dicey. I'm really pining for a TH style article on cloud computing (coinciding with storage)... and yes include Amazons EC2 / S3 services.
  • 0 Hide
    alc_prod_mgr , October 19, 2010 1:43 PM
    Now the limit is up to 25G. I guess the April 2010 limit was 50MB?
  • 0 Hide
    JamesSneed , December 21, 2010 10:38 PM
    @alc_prod_mgr. If you mean skydrive(you didn't specify) then nope it is still 50MB per file but a max of 25GB total storage.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 19, 2011 5:00 PM
    Has anyone tried GoBox ?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 9, 2011 7:55 PM
    I prefer I use it at home and is very affordable and reliable. Iozeta Online Back up. Only $3.88/month for unlimited online backup. Livedrive package provides all of the great features of Unlimited Online Backup plus the powerful Livedrive functionality that lets you share, edit, and sync your files wherever you are. Works on Windows and Mac.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 28, 2011 11:15 PM
    I vote for Iozeta with the person above. Great features at a very affordable price.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 26, 2012 11:12 PM
    A Quick Note from Experience: if you have more than 35GB of data to backup do a google search on backup throttling carbonite and read the terms on backup / upload speed. I have 135GB and the first 20gb was nice and fast so I went ahead and purchased a full license, only to find when I crept over the 30gb some good 2 weeks later did it then slow dowm to around 100kbps yes your reading that right, its around 3-4GB a day.
    Now they say on the terms over 35-200gb "upload speeds can reach up to 512 kbps" and in reality its really throttled back to the 200GB mark as they confirmed 3-4GB per day. I have had the tech support people also check remotely my machine about 4-5 times now and the answer is always we will escalate this to the "Next Level" of support. Well its now been just under 6 weeks and my machine has been on 24x7 with reboots at time to reach 112gb, so another 3 weeks till I get the 135gb online, but that does not include any of my personal videos, that will take another estimated 2 month online backup with machine on..?? so trying to work out is 3 months of powering my Q6600 machine worth all the trouble ? (I backup to remote NAS , but its located on the same site)

    It is good for say your mum or dad, long as they place the files in the folder you selected for backup , but for anyone serious with lots of DATA, I would say be prepared to keep machine on for whats looks like weeks or months at a time.... Here is a snippet of files - dates - GB ....(I have been tracking this from JAN when 1st installed till today the 19th Feb 2012.*Update 27-02-2012..

    Time Date Files GB
    19:00 13/02/2012 55238 95.8
    21:39 14/02/2012 56938 98.6
    09:25 16/02/2012 59028 102
    19:00 16/02/2012 59598 104
    09:00 17/02/2012 60394 106
    00:57 27/02/2011 71144 141 = 3.5GB per day..........


    Apart from the various MetaDataCheckSum errors (still no response to what these are from support) I also see another msg now "Account is currently under storage quota." ? so what does this change and to what affect.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 16, 2012 1:20 AM
    With SkyDrive and GoogleDrive, I don't see any particular value with service. In fact all cloud storage service providers are under pressure unless they can differentiate. Why would I pay more from when I can get much lower cost service from bigger names?

    Cloud IT service pioneered by DriveHQ might be different. instead of selling just cheaper and cheaper storage, they offer cloud-based servers and IT systems, such as file servers, ftp servers, email servers, web servers and automatic backup. I can see a lot more value to businesses than cloud storage service - because you can actually save cost on your servers.
  • 0 Hide
    PolTalk1 , August 24, 2013 5:29 AM
    I can recommend a new great cloud storage service - Copy. It has very simple but functional interface as well as fast uploading speed. And only now they give 20 Gb free storage space through a referral link:
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