What is the most popular IBM Cloud product

Cloud storage: these are the most popular solutions

The cloud supplements conventional data carriers more and more often. But which coud storage is free? How does the cloud work? We provide answers and have researched the 10 most popular solutions.

Cloud storage is increasingly replacing conventional storage. Some offers are even free of charge.

Photo: panthermedia.net/violetkaipa

When it comes to file management in particular, the cloud has simplified things many times over. Conventional data carriers such as hard drives or other removable media are gradually being replaced, and many users are jumping up and using cloud storage. This is not only the case in the private sector, companies are also increasingly relying on the option of being able to store and access data in a decentralized manner.

The technology also offers other advantages. One of the biggest advantages is that cloud operators can also make computing power available to users. This is particularly interesting for companies because they can access it at any time as required without having to upgrade their own IT infrastructure. In this way, resource-intensive projects that lead to performance peaks can often be cushioned just in time.

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What is cloud storage?

The cloud is a memory that is not physically located on the end device of a user. This means that data is stored on a remote server. The data - pictures, music, text files or projects of many terabytes - are loaded onto the server of a cloud provider via the Internet.


  • The data can then be called up at any time - with different end devices such as smartphones or computers.
  • The cloud saves physical storage space on the user's end devices
  • Large files and projects in particular can be outsourced
  • The files can be easily shared by giving other users access to the cloud storage

Cloud storage: which cloud is free?

In the course of this, the market for cloud storage services is growing continuously. Of course, this includes not only small data centers, but also famous global players. Some of the offers are free, but some are limited. Our ranking is based on the analysis of the renowned market research institute Synergy. These are the 10 most popular cloud storage services.

placeprovidersCloud storage serviceMarket share *Headquarters
1AmazonAmazon Drive / S332%Seattle (USA)
2MicrosoftOneDrive21%Redmond (USA)
3GoogleGoogle Drive9%Mountain View (USA)
4AlibabaAliyun / Alibaba Cloud6%Hangzhou (China)
5IBMSmart cloud5%Armonk (USA)
6SalesforceSales Cloud3%San Francisco (USA)
7TencentTencent Cloud2%Shenzhen (China)
8OracleOracle Cloud2%Austin (USA)
9NTTGlobal data centers< 1%Tokyo (Japan)
10BaiduWangpan< 1%Beijing (China)

*) As of 2020, Q4, including IaaS, PaaS and hosted private cloud (source: Synergy Research Group)

Cloud storage in 10th place: Wangpan (Baidu)

In addition to the search engine used extensively in China, the Chinese company Baidu also operates a cloud storage system known as Wangpan. This is a public cloud solution that primarily attracts European customers with its free offer for up to 2 terabytes of storage space. However, the upload and download speed is usually extremely limited, so that it is not worthwhile to even come close to filling the provided storage space.

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In addition to the conventional web interface, Baidu offers its own file manager for uploading and downloading files as well as the ability to link third-party software via API. In addition, content can be shared with others and an online photo album can be created. The servers are located in China and the service is therefore subject to Chinese data protection regulations. Baidu has been criticized several times in this regard. For this reason, the Baidu Cloud is less recommended for confidential data, but offers, for example, a backup destination for media data for little money. With a market share of less than one percent, the provider still ranks 10th in our ranking.

9th place in cloud storage: Global Data Centers (NTT)

The network provider NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) with headquarters in Tokyo occupies ninth place in the ranking. The company has over 170 offices worldwide and has been in the telecommunications industry since 1985. In Germany, for example, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main and Munich are among the branches of the subsidiary NTT Europe.

In addition to cloud services, managed networks or web and media hosting are also offered. The operator's European data centers are certified in accordance with ISO / IEC 27001 information security management. The price model is relatively confusing here, however, as the offer is aimed at companies and, above all, their IT administrators. Hardware, network connection and software of the cloud can even be individually defined for this. The range of functions depends on your needs. The operator is directly connected to the internet backbone and advertises a 10 gigabit connection between all of its data centers and the cloud.

8th place: Oracle Cloud (Oracle)

As a provider of IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and DaaS (Data as a Service), the Oracle Cloud not only offers storage space, but also an environment for both cloud-based apps and internal, outsourced processes of a company. This puts the provider in 8th place in the world rankings. The service currently consists of 29 server locations or regions in the USA, the EU (including Frankfurt am Main) as well as Japan and Brazil. Of these, 7 are for government use. 9 further commercial data centers are currently being planned. Oracle Cloud's market share is around 2%. In terms of data security, the provider offers encryption, identity and access management and a team of cybersecurity specialists who are supposed to prevent attacks on the data center. The server farms use energy from 100% renewable sources at some locations and are intended to reduce Oracle's carbon footprint in this way. Prominent users of the Oracle Cloud are for example Dropbox, TikTok and Zoom.

7th place: Tencent Cloud (Tencent)

The largest Internet company in China is active in many business areas and gained worldwide fame through the “WeChat” app. In the cloud business, Tencent has a market share of 2% and thus ranks seventh. Tencent Cloud Europe is a subsidiary in Frankfurt am Main and offers business customers cloud services in the areas of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. The locations of the data centers can be freely selected and are primarily distributed across the Asian continent, but are concentrated in the Chinese region. Outside of Asia, there are branch offices in the USA and one in Europe. Tencent Cloud does not offer uniform tariffs, but requires a precise definition of the desired hardware and software. In the end, what is actually booked is charged. Various security precautions also protect the data in the cloud. Tencent has a number of data protection and security certifications, including ISO 27001 and ISO 27017.

6th place: Sales Cloud (Salesforce)

As a provider of SaaS and PaaS, Salesforce specializes in customer relationship management (CRM) and offers several corresponding apps in its cloud. The sales cloud service has a market share of around 3% and is intended to facilitate networking between employees, customers and products. However, Salesforce does not describe itself as a classic cloud service provider, but more as a provider for comprehensive e-commerce or marketing projects.

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The price range for the various subscription models is between 25 and 300 euros per month and user. The company's headquarters are in San Francisco, the German branches in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Jena. Server locations and other branch offices are spread across the globe. This puts the Salesforce cloud service in 6th place.

5th place of the most popular cloud storage: SmartCloud (IBM)

The IBM SmartCloud offers IaaS, SaaS and PaaS solutions both via the public and private cloud, has a market share of 5% and is number 5 in the world rankings. Various products and services can be combined with one another in the SmartCloud as required. IBM's own products are mainly used as hardware and software in the SmartCloud. Some of the services offered in the cloud are free, but a paid subscription is required for the full range of functions.

The prices vary depending on the configuration, with IBM only charging products that are actually used. Accordingly, this cloud is not just online storage, but a platform for a wide variety of apps, such as video conferencing, machine learning or virtualization. The server locations are freely selectable and distributed over 6 continents in order to guarantee the shortest possible response times and to comply with the data protection regulations of the respective region.

4th place: Aliyun / Alibaba Cloud (Alibaba)

China's largest cloud provider and fourth place in our ranking with a market share of 6% operates data centers at a total of 63 locations worldwide, two of which are in Germany. Alibaba is also the first Chinese provider to meet the international standard ISO27001: 2005 and thus various data security requirements. The Alibaba Cloud offers, among other things, a selection of differently configured servers that can be rented for a monthly fee. The prices for this start at around 2 euros and are open at the top. These can be ordered with pre-installed images so that environments from CentOS to WordPress can be implemented promptly. Aside from classic online storage, Alibaba offers a wealth of other services such as AI, CDN (Content Delivery Network) or platforms for IoT (Internet of Things).

3rd place: Google Drive (Google)

One of the many services of the Google Cloud is the online storage Google Drive as well as its paid counterpart Google One. With a market share of 9%, the Internet giant's cloud lands in third place. Up to 2 terabytes can be stored in this memory, although a paid Google One subscription, which in this case costs around 9 euros per month, is required . Another product, Google Drive for Work, offers even more storage space and access management for multiple users. You can access Google's online storage via browser, Windows, MacOS and Linux client as well as via app on Android and iOS. According to the company, data is encrypted both in transit and at its location. In terms of the environment, according to Google, the company is committed to reducing the CO2 emissions of its data centers and operates them with energy from 100% renewable sources, for example.

2nd place: OneDrive (Microsoft)

Microsoft's OneDrive lands in 2nd place among the most popular cloud storage services. The US tech group achieved a market share of 21% in the 4th quarter of 2020 through various cloud services. The lion's share of this can be attributed to the Microsoft Azure platform. Developers can let off steam and construct their own cloud solutions. Nonetheless, OneDrive is a popular place to go to store and manage files.

Microsoft offers this service together with software applications such as Office. The prices are staggered depending on the requirements. However, up to 5 gigabytes are granted free of charge upon registration. OneDrive uses 256-bit encryption when synchronizing the data, but the stored data is unencrypted. Microsoft operates server locations worldwide and grants users the right to choose the location at which data is stored. Two data centers are also available in Germany: Germany North in Berlin and Germany West Central in Frankfurt.

1st place: Amazon Drive / S3 (Amazon)

The gold medal of the global ranking, with a market share of 31%, goes to the listed US online mail order company Amazon. In addition to the core business of shipping goods from A to B on a large scale, the group also operates a large number of data centers under the name AWS (Amazon Web Services). The locations also include Germany with three AWS data centers in Frankfurt am Main.

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The Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud storage is primarily aimed at developers and companies. According to the company, the platform should be highly scalable, reliable and fast. In addition, Amazon S3 is certified according to ISO / IEC 27001: 2013, which should guarantee the highest security standards. For private users, Amazon Drive offers an alternative to save pictures, documents or videos in the cloud. Prime members can use the Amazon Photos service to store unlimited images. For other files, the memory is limited to 5 gigabytes, but can be used free of charge. In addition, there are packages with a data volume of up to 30 TB, which are billed annually.

Cloud made in Germany: cloud provider from Germany

In addition to the famous hyperscalers, there are also cloud solutions from well-known telecommunications companies and internet providers that are headquartered in Germany. This can be particularly important for entrepreneurs, as sensitive data is stored and treated according to German law. In addition, the headquarters and the server on which the data are located are usually located in Germany. We introduce you to 3 of the most popular operators.

Magentacloud (Telekom)

Deutsche Telekom's cloud service advertises with server locations in Germany and SSL / TLS encryption during transmission. As a result, the data center fulfills various criteria for data protection and security, which have also been certified by TÜV. Although the data in the cloud is not encrypted by default, individual folders can be assigned a password. In addition to a web interface, files can also be uploaded and downloaded using synchronization software. Optionally automated and with versioning. Magentacloud Free with 3 gigabytes is available free of charge to every user who registers. The provider grants 15 gigabytes (Magentacloud S) for free use to interested parties who are already other Telekom customers. However, Deutsche Telekom will ask you to pay for additional storage space. The prices are based on the respective needs.

HiDrive (Strato)

With TÜV-tested data centers (ISO 27001) and a Trusted Cloud certification, Strato HiDrive offers a corresponding storage portfolio especially for business customers. Up to 10 terabytes are included in the largest package for up to 20 users. The online storage can be integrated via FTP and WebDAV as well as directly via SMB or as a network drive. With the HiDrive app or desktop software, data can be automatically synchronized between the cloud and end devices or shared with other users in the team. HiDrive also offers the option of backing up local devices in the cloud and restoring them if necessary.

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Also on board are user management, so-called team folders for working together on projects, as well as a scan app that can be used to scan documents directly into the cloud using a smartphone. HiDrive also offers an interface for automatically backing up network hard drives (NAS) in the cloud.

Ionos HiDrive (1 & 1)

Another alternative for cloud made in Germany is Ionos. In addition to extensive cloud solutions for the business sector, HiDrive is also available for private users. The ISO 27001 certified cloud storage offers end-to-end encryption as well as the option of logging in using 2-factor authentication. The data itself is stored in German data centers, to which third parties have no access, and is encrypted there using 128-bit AES. For this reason, the online service also complies with the provisions of the GDPR. According to the company, HiDrive is more powerful than AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.

Access is either directly via the browser, via Android or iOS app or via various protocols such as FTP, SMB (as a network drive) or WebDAV. In addition, files can be shared with other team members or synchronized on different end devices. In contrast to many other providers, IONOS does not offer a free version of its cloud. The packages are billed monthly and range from 100 gigabytes to 2 terabytes. The cloud provider is also dedicated to the topic of GreenIT and is therefore committed to efficient data centers, recycling and the use of renewable energies in its own infrastructure.

A contribution by:

  • Silvia chicken

    Silvia Hühn is a freelance editor with a technical focus. Among other things, she writes about the records in the world.