The Collapse of Unlimited Cloud Storage

For the longest time, there has been the ability to purchase Unlimited Cloud Storage from many Cloud-based Enterprise collaboration services. This started with Google's Drive for Work, an add-on to Google Apps for Business, which promised unlimited storage for only $10/user/month. Since then, even through many name changes, Google has kept this offering available, and many have (ab)used this to their advantage and shared the ability to do this, such as in this 5-year-old Linus Tech Tips video with over 5 million views where they show themselves obtaining unlimited storage capacity for only $70/month, and beginning an upload of their entire back-catalog of videos totaling nearly a Petabyte.

Of course, with enough people using this, the "unlimited" storage offering wasn't going to last forever. It started with the end of the actually-free GSuite for Education's unlimited storage being downgraded to 100TB per organization, leading to many/most universities instituting a limit on student/alumni accounts to ensure no user consumes all of that:

Around the same time, Google seems to have started enforcing the 5 user requirement to achieve unlimited storage on pre-existing Enterprise accounts (otherwise, 5TB per user), with one user writing:

My Google Workplace (enterprise one) got a violation of terms email today :(

745TB over my 5TB limit.

24hrs to appeal otherwise suspended.

- u/MoneySings

Then, Google finally officially axed any promise of an "unlimited" storage offering. On May 12, 2023, someone on r/DataHoarder posted this screenshot from the Google pricing/plans page showing that Enterprise Plus no longer included unlimited storage, instead giving you a pooled 5TB per user for $47/month:

Some egregious (ab)users expressed their disdain:

I have 5 active users - still limited at 25TB on a legacy business suite.

currently 100TB over 50TB (they bumped it from 25 after online chat).

problem is cost. Spin drives are getting cheaper. Not many have full blown 12 caddies servers. Most a server can hold up is around 100TB depending on model. For those like me uses 2PB. will need alot of spin drives and lot of servers.

I really don't know what to do. I have to rely on cloud as the backup for my NAS as I'm at the limits of what I can run electrically here at home. I don't have the power infrastructure to run additional storage at home and have ~500TB growing by about a TB a month (this is media I'm generating and not linux iso's). My data storage is already operating at a financial loss and now that I'm losing Google I will probably just have to roll without a backup.

Sadly received this mail as well a few hours back. 152TB of storage in use, customer since September 2020.Started on G Suite Business, was automatically migrated to Google Workspace Enterprise Standard a while back.1 user account.

While this was happening, another "unlimited" storage offering available was Dropbox Advanced, which offered "As much space as needed" with three users at $24/user or $72/month:

But this wasn't going to last long either. In the comments of that Reddit post, we have this comment from a now-deleted account:

I Thought I would share this with you guys

I work at Dropbox as a senior SRE and the Director of engineering, was saying how there has been a huge influx or new business users and all using petabytes of new data, within the past week. The CEO is having an urgent meeting next week to discuss this and they may look at limiting it to 20tb per user as they are fully aware it's mostly streaming users who are doing it

So before you move all your content just FYI

Lo and behold, on July 21:

Dropbox just yesterday limited it's "unlimited" subscriptions to 10TB/week. This seems to be a reaction to people migrating too much data from Google Drive, due to the limit Google is rolling out at the moment as well.

10TB/week isn't terrible, but this only lasted until August 2:

I know the reported limit was supposed to be limited increases to 10TB per week, 40TB per month, but they recently changed it again, to be 1TB per month, 250GB per week, which works out at around 35.7GB per day.

At the price they charge (requiring 3 users), it really is pathetically bad.

I have no idea what effect this has on enterprise users.

The last vestige of unlimited storage was OneDrive for Business (Plan 2), but that was killed just a few days ago:

Unlimited storage isn't unlimited. Some services, like Box, are managing to keep advertising "unlimited storage" by instituting other artificial limits (maximum file size restrictions) and actively monitoring for people trying to upload way too much data. But these unlimited storage offerings were doomed from the start - all it took was Google pulling the plug on their money incinerator to trigger the collapse of unlimited storage offerings and thus using them as a cheap home server/data hoarding backup solution.

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