iDrive e2 is the latest S3 compatible cloud storage service form online cloud drive experts, iDrive. Featuring storage rates up to 80% lower than AWS S3 (with options for yearly discounts on top), free data ingress and egress options, strong performance, resiliency and security options plus the choice of 9 separate geographical data centres all come together to help to make e2 a serious cloud storage choice!
iDrive have been well known for providing a great cloud backup software option for a long time and this new venture into S3 compatible cloud not only brings with it their years of cloud storage experience, but also their very competitive pricing approach. This pricing approach in this case which sees the e2 cloud storage service offering storage form just $0.004 per GB, per month with the option to save even more when buying pre-allocated blocks on a yearly plan.
Whilst iDrive have offered a solid cloud backup and synchronisation product for many years, this new e2 service represents their first venture into enterprise-level and S3 compatible cloud storage, a venture which looks very promising thanks to the easy to use configuration options and some great pricing which is on offer here. Time to sign-up and take a look at iDrive e2 for myself!
- (New) Fully S3 compatible cloud storage service
- Storage priced from just $0.004 per GB / Month
- Further discounts available for yearly plans
- Free data transfers (ingress and egress)
- Enhanced security options including 2FA
- Advanced user / account policies
- Bucket versioning / locking rules
- 9 Data centres located in USA & EU
- Easy to use web management portal
- Limited sharing functionality
- Get a FREE 10GB e2 account!
iDrive e2 Usability
In this first section of my review I will be looking at the process of signing up for the iDrive e2 cloud storage service and then, with an account established, look at making use of the cloud storage service for myself. This begins via the main iDrive website where, amongst other services, the iDrive e2 service can be signed-up for.
Signing-up for iDrive e2
Signing-up for the iDrive e2 cloud service is a very quick and simple process, this is partly thanks to the 10GB free account which means you can register and start using the service after providing just a few basic personal details and there is no requirement to enter any billing details at all if you want to stay in the 10GB free plan.
In my case I already have an iDrive cloud account configured and in-use, this means activating the 10GB of free e2 storage was as simple as clicking on “iDrive e2” form the main menu on the left of the user dashboard and then clicking on “enable – 10GB” at the welcome as can be seen above.
With iDrive e2 now activated, we now get to see our first glimpse of the e2 administration dashboard, from here we can access all aspects of the service via the menu on the left or, thanks to the quick start options in the middle of the screen, start creating our first bucket straight away!
And with that, our new iDrive e2 account is configured and ready to use, we can start off the review by creating a new bucket and looking at some of the configuration options available to us in the next section of this review.
Using iDrive e2 (via the Web Interface)
Whilst S3 compatible cloud storage is commonly used via 3rd party software applications and web services, it is still often useful to have access to any stored data (plus account settings) via a web-based management interface. When it comes to the e2service, iDrive have developed a very well designed management portal which not only makes creating new buckets in a variety of different data centres very quick and easy, but also helps in managing any associated settings such as access keys and user permissions via a cleanly laid out interface a quick and easy process!
As can be seen above (and unlike some competitors) iDrive have really put the focus on delivering the core aspects you would from such a service, an easy to navigate page for managing buckets, access keys, users and, if required, viewing the activity logs for the account! Simply selecting any of these options will open up a dedicated page showing any existing settings or items whilst also allowing any new items (such as a new bucket, user or key for example) to be added quickly and simply via the fly-out form which is included on most of these pages.
Creating New Buckets within e2
One of the core features of any s3 compatible cloud service is, of course, being able to create buckets for actually storing data within. In case you are not familiar with the term then a “bucket”, in this context at least, acts as a logical container upon which a selected set of data can be stored within the cloud whilst being subject to certain storage conditions (acting as a “virtual hard drive” if you like). Creating a new bucket within the e2 service begins at the “Buckets” page which is accessible form the main left menu, once on this page the big red “Create Bucket” button will start the process off.
After clicking on the “Create Bucket” button, the next thing to happen is a settings form will slide out form the right side of the screen presenting a set-up form. Once we have this set-up form visible, we can then enter the important details for setting up the new bucket beginning, as can be seen below, with the data centre region to be used for storing the data within:
As can be seen above (as of time of writing) the e2 service has very good support for storing data in eight different regions of the USA as well as a ninth region within the EU via its single data centre hosted in Ireland. The full list of data centres available right now include:
- Los Angeles
- San Jose
With the data centre chosen (I am using the Los Angeles option during my testing) the next part of the set-up process involves providing the bucket with a unique name, specifying whether its contents should be private or public and then optionally turning on other services such as default encryption, object locking and versioning as might be required.
NB – When making use of the free 10GB account only private buckets can be created and used!
With all of the options on the new bucket fly-out now specified, the bucket will then be created. We can then see this new bucket within our e2 account (plus any other buckets under the same account) on the main “Buckets” menu page as is seen below:
Hovering over any of the buckets on this page and then clicking on the cog icon (which appears when hovering over the bucket) will bring out another fly-out menu showing the properties of the bucket in question and allowing for the settings to be altered. It is also in this settings screen that we can find the endpoint address for any buckets which will become very useful when connecting to the bucket form an external service or piece of software (essentially making it the “address” for the bucket).
Browsing Buckets within e2
At this point in the review I have created a new bucket and this bucket is now visible on the main Buckets screen within the e2 web interface. When clicking on the “Browse Files” button (which shows up when hovering over this bucket’s entry on this page) we can enter the web-based file manager for the iDrive e2 service.
At this point, with the web-based file manager open, files and folders can easily be added to the bucket by either dragging and dropping them over the web-based interface or by clicking on the necessary link to open up the file upload window and selecting files and folders to be uploaded form your device’s file system directly.
Once any files and folders have been uploaded to the bucket, there is little else which can be done with them within this interface other than downloading, deleting or using the in-built copy and paste functionality for easily moving them between other parts of the e2 service.
Access Control & Permissions within e2
With a new bucket now created and some files added, another important aspect of any s3 compatible cloud storage service must be considered, this is controlling access to the e2 service (plus any buckets which might have been created within it) which begins at the “Access keys” page found (again) via the main left-side menu.
Each access key which is created under the e2 account must be given a name as well as associated with one of the 9 specified data centre regions. After this is done, we can specify an access key be applied to a specific bucket or to all buckets under the specified region. We can also at this point set the access control options for this key meaning it can be read-only, write-only or offering both read and write permissions to its holders.
Once all options have been set here, as can be seen above, a yellow box will fly-out showing the credentials for the newly created key. Be very careful to take a note of these credentials right away as they will not be displayed by the service ever again (meaning if you lose them then creating a new key will be the only way forwards). Once any details have been copied down, the new key itself will now be visible in the “Access Keys” page where it can be deleted (but not modified) if required.
Moving on and another aspect to the e2 service allows the inviting of external users into the e2 account via their email address, this means persons other than the e2 account holder can be added to the account and given specific permissions to specified parts of the service.
As can be seen above, when inviting a new user to have access to the e2 account, we can specify what type of access they will have (e.g. read-only) as well as which specific buckets these access rights will apply to.
NB – It should also be noted that the invited users will have to create an e2 account for themselves prior to gaining access should they not already have one!
iDrive e2 Security
With the e2 cloud storage service, iDrive have incorporated some very good security features designed to protect the account itself, any data stored within it as well as providing good redundancy and resiliency options to boot. Some of the more notable security features of the e2 service include:
- All data is transferred over SSL/TLS by default
- Server side encryption is available on e2 buckets
- State of the art data centres are in-use across all e2 locations featuring good physical and network security
- Good protection against ransomware thanks to features including object lock and bucket versioning which can help in successfully mitigating such an attack
- Multi-factor authentication (2FA) is available on all e2 accounts (supporting the Google authenticator app, the Microsoft authenticator app plus several other popular 2FA app choices)
iDrive e2 Support
iDrive provide a comprehensive support portal which allows customers to contact the support team via both an online support form which is available 24/7 or via dedicated support telephone numbers which operate between 6AM and 11:30PM PST for technical support (although this is only between 6AM and 6PM for any billing and sales enquiries).
In addition to this support service, iDrive also offer a very detailed online knowledge base for their products which extends to also include a detailed tutorials section and a comprehensive FAQ section for answering may of the commonly asked questions about any of the iDrive services.
iDrive e2 Pricing
iDrive initially offers the e2 service with 10GB of cloud storage included completely for free!
Should you require more than this initial free offering then additional storage is priced at just $0.004 per GB / per month with no additional fees to worry about when it comes to data ingress or egress (that is, transferring data into and out of the service).
iDrive additionally offer yearly pre-paid plans which offer e2 account holders the ability to make further savings on storage by committing to a specified block of storage for 1 year in advance, these yearly plans are currently priced as follows:
- 1TB for $40 / Year (Currently discounted to $4 for the first year)
- 2TB for $80 / Year (Currently discounted to $8 for the first year)
- 5TB for $200 / Year (Currently discounted to $20 for the first year)
- 10TB for $400 / Year (Currently discounted to $40 for the first year)
- 20TB for $800 / Year (Currently discounted to $80 for the first year)
- 30TB for $1200 / Year (Currently discounted to $120 for the first year)
- 40TB for $1600 / Year (Currently discounted to $160 for the first year)
- 50TB for $2000/ Year (Currently discounted to $200 for the first year)
- 100TB for $4000 / Year (Currently discounted to $400 for the first year)
- 200TB for $8000 / Year (Currently discounted to $800 for the first year)
Overall, this is very competitive pricing from iDrive and offers customers with large data storage requirements the chance to save very respectable amounts versus using the official AWS S3 service. More information on any of these pricing options can be found via the iDrive e2 pricing page itself.
iDrive e2 FAQ
Yes, iDrive offer all customers a free 10GB account with additional storage priced at just $0.004 per GB per month or even cheaper when purchasing yearly, pre-allocated plans. It should also be noted that, unlike may other S3 compatible storage services, iDrive e2 offers its customers free transfers of any data going in to and out from the service!
iDrive e2 offers users of the service the option to apply multi-factor authentication to their account in addition to setting server-side encryption to any buckets configured within the service. In addition to this, strong ransomware protection is provided by means of bucket versioning and file object locks and all files are transferred over SSL/TLS secure connections by default.
Yes, iDrive e2 is S3 compatible cloud storage which means it should easily integrate with any backup software already supporting the AWS S3 service. iDrive e2 also provides other technologies which can be very helpful in maintaining a computer backup such as bucket versioning policies and object lock, both of which can be implemented to help ensure valuable data is protected against malware and ransomware, kept accessible for longer and is not so easy to accidentally delete!
iDrive e2 Alternatives
In this section I will be looking at some alternatives to the e2 service from iDrive, this will be focused on S3 compatible cloud storage services which also offer a strong alternative to the official AWS S3 cloud storage service provided by Amazon themselves.
1) Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage
The B2 service is the AWS S3 compatible cloud storage offering from leading cloud backup specialists, Backblaze!
Offering a fully S3 compatible cloud storage service alongside options for storing data in both the USA and EU, providing strong permissions and security options, a command line access tool and bucket versioning options amongst many others, B2 is a serious competitor to the original S3 service! Furthermore, with storage pricing starting at just $0.005 per GB, per month and download fees of just $0.01 per GB (very slightly higher than iDirve’s e2 pricing model) Backblaze B2 provides a very reliable and cost effective cloud storage approach.
A free allocation of 10GB of Backblaze B2 cloud storage is available for all Backblaze account holders. More information on Backblaze B2 can be found via the official Backblaze B2 website.
Providing 100% S3 compatible cloud storage which is backed-up with many other great features including ransomware protection and no fees for data egress, Wasabi is understandably a leading cloud storage provider!
Whilst the Wasabi base cloud storage fee is very slightly higher than that from both iDrive e2 and Backblaze B2 at $0.0059 per GB / per month, Wasabi do offer free egress, no API request charges and the ability to pre-pay for larger allocations of storage for further pricing discounts when applicable to do so. With pricing aside, Wasabi do claim to offer very high performance and highly resistant cloud storage with “11 x 9’s” durability figures, full data centre redundancy and good ransomware protection options amongst many other strong data protection features which are on offer.
A 30 day free trial of the Wasabi service (with 1TB of storage included) is available to anyone wanting to try out the service out for themselves. More information on this free trial and the Wasabi cloud storage service itself can be found at the official Wasabi website.
3) Digital Ocean Spaces
DigitalOcean Spaces is a fully S3 compatible cloud storage service which provides low costs and highly resilient storage alongside a great set of developer orientated tools and features.
Priced from just $5 / month for a 250GB allocation with 1TB of transfer included (and $0.02 per additional GB stored and $0.01 per GB transferred thereafter), DigitalOcean Spaces is a competitive offering. Its real value, however, comes from the many developer-orientated tools and features which are included within the service by default, this includes the built-in CDN functionality, developer API, HTTPS transfers by default, enhanced web-based file browser and the choice of storing data in 5 different data centres across the USA, EU plus other geographical areas.
DigitalOcean currently offer all new accounts a $100 free credit lasting for 60 days to try any of their services out (including DigitalOcean Spaces amongst many other cloud computing services). More information can be found via the official DigitalOcean website.
iDrive e2 Review Summary
iDrive have for a long time been well know for providing a solid computer backup and cloud synchronisation product with very competitive pricing for both home and business users alike. This latest venture into the S3 compatible storage space represents another angle to their cloud storage offering, one which will help the company appeal to both commercial developers and enterprise users looking for flexible and secure cloud storage as well as personal and small business users looking for a cost effective storage solution.
Whilst being fully S3 compatible is without doubt one of the biggest appeals of such a service, e2 also offers many other useful features including bucket versioning and file locking, multi-factor authentication, server-side encryption plus the choice of 9 separate data centres for storing data within across both the USA and EU amongst many other useful features within the service.
Overall, iDrive e2 looks like a solid cloud storage service with some good functionality and a very generous 10GB of free cloud storage already included for all accounts. Furthermore, with very competitive pricing starting from just $0.004 per GB, per month and having no transfer fees to worry about either, this is clearly some of the most cost effective S3 compatible storage currently going, great work iDrive!