Apple-friendly iDrive pushes price to build S3 service for SMBs

iDrive recently introduced what it claims to be the fastest S3-compatible cloud storage, which could be an option for  any enterprise seeking cross-platform, off-site storage assets for shared or app supporting data.

S3 cloud services anyone can afford

The company may already be familiar to PC, Mac and iOS users. It recently introduced a 1TB photo storage service within its $9.99 unlimited mobile plan (99 cents in year one), which makes iDrive Photos a cost-effective place to store consumer data and photos. This has been a particular success among users of Google Photos, abandoned when the search and ads giant shuttered its free backup plan.

iDrive e2 is being touted as cheaper than competing solutions from Backblaze, AWS, and others, in part because the company does not levy ingress or egress fees.

The latter makes costs far more predictable, particularly for large deployments, though the limited number of data centers (eight, based in the US) may affect speeds in some locations and will almost certainly raise questions around data sovereignty for any non-US business handling critical or personal information.

What do you get?

The service comprises an S3 compatible, scalable cloud-object storage platform that lets users store data in the cloud. You can use it for off-site disaster recovery, to create an accessible data archive, or for long-term digital archiving. Developers can also build applications using standard S3 APIs pointing to IDrive e2 storage.

Mac users and developers can use well-known tools to access this service, including CyberDuck, CommanderOne, or Transmit. The timing of the lower-cost service seems good; enterprises already run 49% of workloads and store 46% of data in the cloud.

The service does seem to be of potential interest to developers seeking to support application-related data, while security-conscious users may want to use the service’s data-locking ability to secure critical information. (Be warned that some of the more advanced enterprise features you might expect from AWS, such as data replication, aren’t available. Businesses considering iDrive may want to check what features they use in their existing service before switching the migration button.)

All the same, developers and smaller enterprises should know the company offers the first 10GB of storage for free, charging $0.004/GB/month thereafter. That’s around 80% cheaper than AWS.

Who is it for?

To my eyes, the lack of more advanced enterprise-focused features you expect from AWS means that iDrive will see the biggest adoption by small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and developers seeking to prune the costs of their own internal digital transformation and app deployment/infrastructure projects.

In conjunction with off-the-shelf integration options such as Apple Business Essentials, SMBs can now dream of digital presences that may even help them compete with larger incumbents.

Of course, this drive to digital means the cloud computing market continues to expand, and Apple remains in the space as it seeks to expand and extend its iCloud/services franchise. The company last year recruited several leading cloud services software engineers from AWS, Docker, and elsewhere. 

The messaging for developers in the Apple space (and I don’t simply mean app developers, but anyone in enterprise IT tasked with Apple support within bigger digital projects) is deafeningly clear: Investment in services such as iDrive, AWS, etc., is becoming a strategic necessity for future growth.

Digital drives your business destiny

“In today’s digital-first world, business outcomes and innovation are increasingly tied to the ability to develop and use innovative technologies and services anywhere, as quickly as possible. Cloud is the foundation for meeting this need,” Rick Villars, IDC group vice president, worldwide research, said in a statement.

Grabbing some of this buoyant digital infrastructure market is clearly what iDrive’s price-driven bid is all about; you can anticipate accelerated competition as every vendor seeks to build digital empires as deployment accelerates.

A Flexera report claims 28% of SMBs already run some workloads on AWS and Azure, with another 22% on Google Cloud Platform.

With every business now a digital business, there’s a growing quantity of data inside every company’s lake —  particularly as the next data-drive industry growth point will see investment to support delivery of the huge data assets required to populate the metaverse.

On a wider basis, embracing anything-as-a-service, data analytics, AI, and more, the cloud computing market should hit $1.9 trillion by 2032, or perhaps sooner, according to IDC.

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