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IDrive takes aim at Backblaze, Wasabi with new e2 service

The new IDrive e2 service provides object cloud storage at $0.004 per GB, per month, which could push IDrive deeper into the enterprise.

IDrive Inc., a personal storage and backup-as-a-service vendor, is expanding further into enterprise and business storage with IDrive e2, a cloud object storage service with S3 compatibility.

IDrive e2, now generally available, offers the first 10 GB of object storage for free with additional space priced at $0.004 per GB, per month. IDrive said it charges no ingress or egress fees for the service and doesn't charge for downloading data.

For comparison, AWS charges around $0.023 per GB for the first 50 TB per month for the S3 Standard storage class.

The price and feature list put them into direct competition with other S3-compatible object storage services providers, such as Backblaze, Wasabi and Seagate's Lyve Cloud, said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

"They took a page out of Backblaze's book," Staimer said. "They have the extra capacity. Why not try to sell it?"

Business-class storage

IDrive has been in business since 1995, primarily selling online backup software and storage to individuals and small businesses, with some expansion of its backup services into the enterprise market. The company currently manages about 400 PB of data across 4 million users, according to Raghu Kulkarni, CEO of IDrive.

The experience of building up the data center infrastructure and storing data for both personal use and smaller businesses made the addition of object storage a natural progression, Kulkarni said.

"We are a little bit late to the game, so to speak, but we wanted to create something that was very unique," he said. "It was a natural extension for our engineers."

Despite the ubiquity of the S3 protocol among cloud developers and storage services, the Amazon Simple Storage Service remains a proprietary protocol of AWS, Staimer said.

You don't have to train or educate anyone on S3. It's a plug-and-play approach.
Raghu KulkarniCEO, IDrive

Taking the time to develop that interoperability is worthwhile, as it expands IDrive e2 use cases to popular application and service connections using the S3 protocol, Kulkarni said. He specifically noted that Veeam customers could use IDrive e2 to store backups.

"You don't have to train or educate anyone on S3," Kulkarni said. "It's a plug-and-play approach."

Beyond S3 compatibility, IDrive e2 also includes features such as bucket versioning and object lock as well as a web console to manage data.

IDrive e2 has eight data centers in the U.S., but the company plans to expand its footprint with data centers in Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Headroom to grow

Use cases such as Veeam backups fit for a service such as IDrive, Staimer said, because they don't demand the litany of features sold by a hyperscaler such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, nor will the data cost as much to store.

"It makes a lot of sense for archive data," Staimer said. "They [cost] slightly more than Amazon Glacier [but] offer slightly faster performance. It's the low end of the cloud storage market."

Glacier, Amazon's colder storage tier, offers a similar price point as IDrive but has slower access times. Data stored in Glacier can shift to higher-cost access tiers should users access the data more frequently than intended.

More S3-compatiblite storage vendors could emerge, adding competition to the market, but Kulkarni said he expects customer demand to grow and sustain a variety of storage services and price points.

"The storage [market] will keep growing. There's room for others," he said.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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