Choosing Online Backup Storage: Google Cloud Storage vs Google Drive

Google Cloud Platform

Updated on 12.12.2017

We are going to consider two most popular cloud storage solutions that can host your server backups: Google Drive and Google Cloud Storage. Are they the same? No, of course not: there are obvious differences in the operating principles and possibilities. To understand the point, let’s briefly review their features.

Well-Known Google Drive

It is a popular cloud storage service by Google distinguished by deep integration of Google apps. Similar to Amazon Cloud Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, it offers free and fee-based storage plans - you start with 15 GB of cloud space for free, but then you can upgrade your storage space up to 100 GB for $1.99/month, 1 TB for $9.99/month or 10 TB for $99.99/month. You may find actual price info on the Google Drive pricing page.

Google Drive Pricing 2017

Since the service is quite handy for home users and has the same SLA base as Google Cloud Storage (99.9%), it doesn’t provide for any business-ready features:

  • No tier-based data storage (cheap and slow for long-term data storage, more expensive and fast for “hot” data). Using Google Drive you can choose just a standard storage plan offering no extra flexibility.
  • It is not a business solution. Google preserves Google Cloud Storage but not Google Drive as an enterprise platform, so you will not get a solid business application with Google Drive data storage.
  • It doesn’t support advanced data management features. No buckets that preserve all your project data, no management of object metadata, no setting of object and bucket ACLs.
  • The storage plan is limited to 30TB. If you wish to store “few year” data or a deep file version history, this will not be enough.
  • Weak load-bearing capacity. You can know it from the following error message - "Please, reduce your request rate". It means that excessive load is on the Google server. Remember, it is a personal data storage service.

It results in increased backup duration, data privacy weakness or additional administrators’ effort - they have to, at least, encrypt data before sending to an external cloud.

Enterprise Brother — Google Cloud Storage

Unlike the previous service, Google Cloud Storage can be considered as a serious service for server backups hosting. Here are the reasons:

  1. Space is unlimited.
  2. Improved security due to the use of OAuth.
  3. Advanced storage tiers. You can save money for “cold” data (rarely used) or pay extra for regular data snapshots.
  4. REST API support for advanced service and business apps integration.
  5. Possibility to resume data transfer after a failure. This feature especially useful when performing very large uploads (like backups), when the risk of some kind of data interruption is obviously high.
  6. It also supports streaming transfers, automated objects versioning and geographical specification of bucket data center locations.

Google Cloud Storage Classes

The intensity of the data use is different in each case, that’s why Google Cloud Storage provides for three solutions at different prices (actual price info you can find on Google pricing page):

  • Google Cloud Storage Standard is appropriate for users who need instant access to huge data volumes. The price for the standard service is $0.026/GB and it’s due to an increased speed of response to inquiries.
  • Google Cloud Storage Nearline is the cool tier storage. That means, it's cheaper than Standard tier, but the response time is much longer. Perfect for users whose objective is to store large data volumes that will not be used frequently. The price for the storage is $0.01/ GB
  • Google Cloud Storage Coldline is the latest, cold tier storage. With its price of $0.007/ GB it's dirt cheap. This, however, comes with a price - it's more expensive to restore files, located in Coldline. Keep in mind, that in Google Coldline there is also an early deletion fee - you'll pay more for recovering data earlier than 90 days after the upload. Perfect archive storage

At first glance, it seems that Google Drive is much cheaper than Google Cloud Storage. However, this statement is true only if you use the entire space. If a user pays for 1TB but uses only 30% of that space, then the rest amount that was paid is financially “lost”. The situation is different with Google Cloud Storage. Here, the price depends on the space used up to each gigabyte.

The Dry Residue

Being a cloud backup vendor, we support both Google data storage solutions. But when choosing the best one for your company, please, consider the following aspects:

  • CloudBerry Backup doesn’t support data compression and encryption when used with Google Drive. Be ready to encrypt data yourself.
  • You can face with Google server overload error when using Google Drive since it is designed for home users.

All of the above-mentioned allows to come to the following logical conclusion - Google Drive is good for home users, whose objectives are storing, editing and reproducing text and media files. Small and medium businesses should focus on the more extensive, functional and secure Google Cloud Storage service.

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