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Is Google Crazy to Charge $4K a Year for 16TB in Its Cloud?

It was only a matter of time before Google expanded its online storage services. (See my eWEEK colleague Clint Boulton's news story here.)

What? You didn't know Google already provided storage? Indeed. Well, it's not like the backup storage Carbonite, EMC Mozy, Box, i365, Dropbox, SugarSync, Asigra or others offer. There is little under the Internet sun that Google doesn't do; always remember that. And they're dreaming up new services, even as we speak.

For several years, Google has offered User Managed Storage for Google Docs users who want to purchase more storage space when they fill their quotas on personal Google Accounts (for Google Docs, 1GB free allotment), Picasa Web Albums and Blogger (1GB allotment combined).

The search king has started a new User Managed Storage service for its paying Google Apps customers, starting at $5 a year for 20GB of data. Users pay that very fair fee at Google Checkout.

However, this story gets better. The charge suddenly begins to look pretty steep as one adds more content to the cloud, and we all know how stuff piles up--especially items like video and music files. From that starter $5 a year for 20GB, the UMS (might as well get the acronym out of the way now) scales up to 1TB ($256/year), to several points in between, then to16TB of data for a whopping $4,096 a year.

Now, my first question is this: Why $4,096/year and not a nice, rounded-off $4K per year? Fans of "Monk" (the OCD-afflicted TV detective) will get this point immediately). But $4,096 it is.

If someone needs more than 16TB--which is often more than enough to run a small business--he or she will need to call Google and make arrangements. Then, it would appear, that person would need to go and get his/her head examined.

When one can buy a 3TB storage drive for $120 at Fry's or NewEgg, and then have all that content right there at one's fingertips, four grand for the cloud appears to be a rather dubious expenditure.

Ostensibly, the message we're getting off the top is that Google really doesn't want people to be buying 16TB or more of its cloud storage capacity.

However, do not be quick to condemn Google. You can't put cloud services on a desktop storage machine. There are other ways to look at this. For example, if a company is running a cloud-based service and needs online capacity for clients' content in a cloud, that four grand is actually a relatively cheap price for a brand-name, fully secured cloud vault.

So, the lesson here is this: Don't be so quick to jump at something you read as being ridiculous (as we did at first, admittedly). Look at all the possibilities before making a judgment.

That sounds like good advice for life in general.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...