Cheapest online storage?
January 27, 2011 11:31 PM   Subscribe

What is the hands-down cheapest way to store a large amount of data online: say 100GB with say 100GB transfer per month? Bandwidth and transfer limit aren't a priority as long as media files can be streamed right away any time. Why? Because we would all like to put our music collections online. The lowest I've found is about 10 cents per gigabyte.
posted by oneous to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Dropbox Pro 100 is $20 a month.
posted by setanor at 11:32 PM on January 27, 2011

Which I guess is more than what you might have found, but Dropbox is also really easy to work with if you're sharing a library.
posted by setanor at 11:33 PM on January 27, 2011

Cheapest way I know is to host it yourself. The Pogoplug draws 4 watts; 2TB of storage hooked to it might take that up to, say, 10W average. That's 0.01kW, so it would cost you 31 days/month * 24 hours/day * 0.01 kW * (say) $0.25/kWh < $2/month to run. Access inside your home would happen at LAN speeds; access from elsewhere would depend on how fast your Internet connection can upload. Most ISPs don't meter uploads. If you want cheap, that's probably it.
posted by flabdablet at 12:08 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure how Dropbox would work with 100gb of songs, but the iPhone app just plays the music just like it was in the iPod app. That's the easiest way for sure.

Flabdablet's cost analysis on the having it at home is nice. I'd be less worried on what your ISP will be pushing 100GB up it. You'd probably want a fixed IP address and the fattest upload speeds you can get. For me that's the 50mbps down/5mbps up $99 plan that is unlimited.

But your ISP might noticed all those 1s and 0s going upstream and either TOS you or make you upgrade to a "business class" service which might tip the costs part to being more than Dropbox or another "cloud" solution.
posted by birdherder at 12:22 AM on January 28, 2011

Upload speeds are usually smaller than download speeds on residential connections (since you generally download a lot more than you upload, the bandwidth is allocated asymmetrically). But if it's fast enough, it's fast enough.
posted by hattifattener at 12:23 AM on January 28, 2011

Amazon S3 "Reduced Redundancy Storage" is 9¢ per GB... so maybe hands-down cheapest, (after flabdablet's method, of course) but it's a software-developer-level service that you'd need to set up something like a Linux system with s3fs to use as a drive easily - basically the exact opposite of "really easy to work with." (But it goes down to 3.7¢ per GB if you store more than 5000 TB! ;^)

Hmmm... The Ubuntu One service which is designed to be easy for end-users comes out to about 15¢ per GB. Right now they only support Ubuntu Linux, iPhone, and Android but evidently they'll support Windows soon too.
posted by XMLicious at 12:23 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

>Most ISPs don't meter uploads.

Where do you live?
posted by brightghost at 12:36 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you assume your average cable modem has ~50 KB/s uplink (but probably less during peak hours) your system could support approximately 3 simultaneous users streaming "regular" MP3s. High-bitrate MP3s (320kbps) or FLAC files reduce this to a single user at a time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:28 AM on January 28, 2011

Put a tiny server in a co-location facility somewhere and pay by 95% billing - not by total amount transferred. If you keep your audience small this will be rediculously low.
posted by TravellingDen at 5:32 AM on January 28, 2011

I have unlimited bandwidth and storage on Dreamhost, more or less. The problem would be getting all your music up into the cloud. Unless you have a crazy net connection it will take forever.

You might want to look at improving your net connection at home, and running a server yourself. The throughput you need to stream an MP3 isn't veery high.
posted by chunking express at 5:36 AM on January 28, 2011

Careful if your home connection is a cable modem - some ISP's impose throttles on your connection if you *upload* "too much".
posted by de void at 6:30 AM on January 28, 2011

Using Dreamhost might violate their Acceptable Use Policy: "DreamHost Web Hosting servers are not intended as a data backup or archiving service."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 AM on January 28, 2011

Jumping off of flabdablet's solution, you could just buy bigger hard drives for your PCs and set up some kind of data synchronizing when the PCs are at their home bases.

Also, consider that a straight file based system may not stream they way you hope it will. You may end up having to download each file before being able to listen to it. Actual streaming would require some kind of streaming server.
posted by gjc at 8:41 AM on January 28, 2011

Use instead of trying to put your entire collection online ?
posted by iamabot at 2:44 PM on January 28, 2011

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