Finding the Best Digital Storage Solution for your Family

I have spent years trying to perfect this one.  It’s a challenge.  Where/how do you house those precious pictures and videos?  What’s the best solution that will endure for many years?  Hard drives are great as a place to keep files – particularly, large video files.  But, if you have several hard drives, it’s hard to get to what you want.

So, what is the answer for keeping up with the pics and videos that you want to preserve for generations to come?

For me, there are a few considerations that you must keep in mind when analyzing cloud storage:

  • Pricing
  • Sharing features – I won’t get into this one, per solution.  I think all of these do a pretty decent job with Sharing images and video.  So, this won’t be a distinguishing factor.
  • File manipulation:  This includes the ability to change the date of the file.

Let’s start by comparing a few solutions:

1.  Dropbox.  

Great service.  I use it for holding what is actually on my computer right now.  But, what about files you want to move somewhere and not house it on your computer?  Dropbox is not really the solution for that.  You can’t beat the price point or the accessibility.  ($99/year for 1 TB or $199/year for 2 TB)  But, Dropbox has its limitations.  It is primarily designed to sync up all of your files on all of your computers.  So, what if you need more storage than 2 TB?  Or, what if you have some 5-year-old videos that you don’t want on your computer?  Dropbox is not a great solution for that.

As people are taking more pictures and shooting more video, I believe there is a greater need for a solution that will just get the videos and images off the hard drive and onto a platform that is secure, organized and accessible.  I don’t think that’s Dropbox.  But, for me, it still serves a valuable purpose.  I use it to back-up what is on my computer right now.  This is the way it was designed to be used.  And, it works magnificently for that.

Here’s a breakdown of where Dropbox rates on the key criteria that I identified:

  • Pricing – $99/year for 1 TB – excellent.  Nothing wrong with the pricing
  • File Manipulation – Dropbox doesn’t do that great of a job in this area.  I think a photo editor would be a nice touch for Dropbox.  It certainly doesn’t have to be as advanced as what Google+ has.  But, it would help.  And, there is nothing inside of Dropbox to help with Video editing.


  • Google mobile app.  Very easy to use.
  • Overall ease of use.


  • Only allows you to backup what is on your computer.  No flexibility for those who just want to keep files in the cloud.

2.  Google Drive

Google Drive is great on price – short on features.  It’s good, basic storage.  But, it lacks some of the tools that OneDrive has.  It does have the integration with the Chrome apps.  But, I think some of those apps just fall short.

  • Pricing is a huge plus for Google Drive.  It’s in line, pricing-wise, with One-Drive.  And, it’s great for basic storage.  But, it lacks some bells and whistles.
15 GB Free
100 GB $1.99
1 TB $9.99
10 TB $99.99
20 TB $199.99
30 TB $299.99
  • File Manipulation:  Not a fan of the integration with Google+.  Please, don’t force another Google product on me.  But, if you are willing to move forward with that, you can manipulate some pictures in Google+.

I do use Google Drive for holding some stuff.  I like the Google docs integration.  But, overall, I think that OneDrive is a better option.

Google Drive is a legit #2.

3.  OneDrive

This is my winner – by a long-shot.  They do everything right.  The rest should be looking at what Microsoft has done in order to fix their product offerings.

I love the information and the customization in the admin panel.  It’s super easy to change information and move files.  You can easily look at all the information on your files, graphically.  In short, it’s the best.


Pricing:  Great deal.  $199/100 GB;  $3.99/200 GB;  $6.99/1 TB.  In thinking about a long-term st0rage solution, you have to look at pricing.  As your files continue to eat up more and more storage, the affordability becomes key.  Hands-down winner.

Sharing features:  Very easy to email and share files on social media.  Done.

File Manipulation:  Very easy to change information on particular files.

I love the integration with Office 365.  It actually makes me want to use this product.  I love the desktop app.  Very effective.  Easy to drag files into a folder.  And, then, once they are uploaded, you can drag them to another folder so you don’t have to eat up space on your hard drive.

You can’t go wrong by using OneDrive as your family digital storage solution.

4.  Amazon Cloud Drive

Of all of these services, I have tried with Amazon the most.  I have tried to make this relationship work.  But, there is just not enough there!  Amazon seeks to be in the same ballpark as OneDrive and Google Drive.  But, it’s just not there.

I feel like Amazon Cloud storage is in an early iteration when these others are already down the path.

Let’s examine the criteria:

Pricing.  This is the Amazon Cloud Drive Pricing.

I think it’s pretty shortsighted to only look at the low GB plans when you look at cloud pricing.  You want a solution that will last for years.  And, you need something that you can grow with.

So, when you compare the pricing of the Amazon Cloud Drive plans for 500 GB and 1000 GB plans, you can’t even compare these with the value available from Google and Microsoft.

File Manipulation:  Nada.  This is just storage.  Plain and simple.  I was even a big shocked at the lack of information available about individual files.  You can’t change a file.  If you upload a video on January 5th but you shot it Oct. 7th of last year – oh, well – too bad.  There’s nothing you can do to that file to distinguish it.

It’s Amazon.  So, I know there is so much promise here.  But, for now, this is not a product that they are doing well.


  • It’s Amazon.  The integration with Fire TV is pretty sweet.  But, you can find this in other storage partners like OneDrive or Vimeo.


  • This is a a rather long list.  But, it starts with customization.  It has no ability to change information and data on files.
  • You can’t control the audience for files and who you are sharing it with.  The sharing options are rather limited.
  • The mobile app (Android & iOS) are very poor.  It’s somewhat disorganized and hard to get to the files you need

My Ideal Solution

After many years of testing and trying new methods, this is where I have ended up:  a hodge-podge of these different services.

My idea solution would have:

  • Advanced video editing capability built into the platform.
  • Redundancy across multiple services.

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