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Are Cloud Services Offering Unlimited Storage to be Trusted?

Cloud storage services are highly popular nowadays. They offer users the ability to upload all their data into the cloud, ready for them to access wherever they are in the world – through portable apps on their phones and desktop applications on their computer.

Of course, “all their data” depends on how much data the user has and, critically, how much capacity the cloud provider is offering. A typical pricing structure of a cloud storage service is tiered, with the price increasing dependant on how much storage is needed.

However, there are some services that come with the claim of offering unlimited storage. You can store as much data as you want on these services, since the nature of being unlimited means there’s no limit.

It’s a claim that, at first, can appear too good to be true. How can these services possibly afford to host unlimited amounts of data? Well, these services are likely banking on the fact that the majority of their users won’t actually use up much storage space at all. In fact, they may pay for unlimited storage when they could get a cheaper deal elsewhere for a capacity more tailored to them.

One company that did offer unlimited storage space was Bitcasa. However, it was recently announced that the firm are now closing their unlimited package down as only 0.1 percent of their accounts hold more than 10TB of data. Bitcasa also claimed that some users were abusing their unlimited offering – perhaps businesses using the personal accounts.

However, Bitcasa came under fire due to the fact they gave users only three weeks to either update their accounts to accommodate their change or move their data off the service. If they didn’t then all their data would be deleted permanently.

It’s a sudden change and it puts a negative light on Bitcasa and the promise of negative storage in general. Surely Bitcasa could have seen this coming and given their users a bit more of a warning? Can companies offering unlimited storage really survive, or is it a promise that will eventually dwindle out?

One company who also offers unlimited storage is Google, but this is only for select accounts. For example, all members of Google’s Education program have unlimited storage. However, to open this up to all members of the public would likely be hugely cost prohibitive for Google.

Nevertheless, there are services that still exist with unlimited storage offerings. Just Cloud and Livedrive are two such companies. However, it’s questionable just how long they are going to be able to survive. Perhaps only a small percentage of users will actually try and use the unlimited storage to its full potential, but when these numbers have the impact on Bitcasa to finish with unlimited then surely the same will happen to others too?

Also, when signing up to unlimited services it’s always worth checking the small print. Some services will come with the caveat that they can close your account if they think you’re abusing the system or using it inappropriately, which of course can be open to interpretation.

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