On April 24, Google unveiled its cloud storage product, Google Drive. As far as an alternative to standard disk to disk backup and other types of physical options like SAN storage, Drive seems to be arriving late to a crowded party. But it does bring a price point and upload capacity that suggest it over other industry mainstays such as Dropbox, although perhaps not strongly enough in the case of larger enterprises.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, cloud storage that doesn’t require you have your own physical disk to disk backup system and network access hardware continues to get top billing from hype engines and some media outlets. The benefits to individuals and businesses are many. There is no upfront investment cost as there is with physical storage. It’s easier to establish remote access from any computer with just the proper login credentials, and makes file sharing easier. It also protects the data from any threat to a person or business’s own hardware. Drawbacks include being a slave to internet connection speed and the host’s upload and download speed restrictions, the threat of data loss due to a connection interruption, and introducing and entirely new set of security risks.
Google Drive seems particularly targeted at small businesses that want a faster storage option with more features than some competitors and a better price. Google delivers more space, and cheaper space upgrades at the top storage volumes than everyone except Microsoft Skydrive, and the best maximum file size by a significant margin. There are better options for people who need smaller amounts around 25 gigs, but the difference is marginal.
And one of the biggest boons is that, obviously, Drive integrates all of Google’s other cloud-based apps, giving users access to over 30 types of files. Drive uses a software interface to facilitate uploading and downloading files, but they can be accessed, edited, and shared through any online portal. This integrates perfectly for many small businesses that already use Google’s free online applications and makes Drive arguably the most powerful standalone cloud storage tool.
Other services are more appealing to larger businesses, however, because they don’t use what is essentially a public cloud. Though Google has relatively advanced security features for Drive uploads, and guarantees 99.9 percent uptime, that doesn’t alleviate the fears many enterprises already have about the risk of a generalized Google breach.
As the newest entrant into the cloud storage industry, Google Drive has a lot to offer for some types of business. But it still doesn’t have any better answers to many of the reservations that lead businesses to prefer traditional disk to disk backup. There is still time before it is actually rolled out, but for the most part it seems like more of the same
Sterling Etheren writes for various tech related blogs and advice columns in spare time. To find out more about San Storage and other data storage solutions you may visit www.nexsan.com