SpiderOak vs Jungle Disk price comparison

Introduction

I experienced at least two disastrous data loss. After the first one, I resolved that I should make a more systematic backup routine but it was only after the second that I worked to realize that resolution. That second one, by the way, resulted to the loss of about a year’s worth of this website’s updates. I would not belabor myself in recreating the lost content until I have an effective backup system so that I won’t be doing any recreation again.

There are several ways of doing a backup. One way involves burning a data into a disc and storing it somewhere. This is what I have done with my pictures but since this is a manual process, the last backup was made several years ago. There are methods like using RAID or rsync to back up to another disk but this involves buying hardware–using up disk space which I could have used for storing more data. The best backup method for me, then, is Internet backup.

My first plan is to use Amazon S3 as it was the most famous consumer cloud storage service. After some quick browsing, I found Jungle Disk, a service that provides a usable front end to S3 for general users. I did some more searching for backup services and among the many search results that include Mozy and CoppermineCarbonite, I found SpiderOak to be the best.

Jungle Disk and SpiderOak have similar important features like unlimited multiple computer support, delta uploading and versioning. Both have Linux (my primary OS) support: the former has generic Linux binaries while the latter has binaries for major distributions. There’s no binary for my main distribution, Mandriva, but there’s a workaround. A reader has also commented that SpiderOak has other features that might come in handy someday. For the rest of this post, I will be comparing the prices of SpiderOak and JungleDisk under scenarios that are relevant to me. I will not be commenting on their quality of service since I haven’t evaluated that aspect yet.

Pricing

Jungle Disk pricing is somewhat complicated. Payment per month is equal to $2.00 plus storage costs. One may opt to buy the perpetual license option for $20.00 to remove the $2.00 fixed monthly cost but it doesn’t include optional subscription features: file access from any browser, block-level file updates (delta updates) and upload resume. Access to these features cost $1.00 per month. That is, the payment per month is equal to $1.00 plus storage costs for a perpetual license with optional subscription features. I consider the optional subscription features as important and non-optional so I will not be evaluating the case involving a perpetual license and no optional features.

The actual data is stored in either Amazon (US or EU) or Rackspace. For both, the storage fee is $0.15 per GB-Month. The number of GB-Month is equal to the average amount of storage used per day in a month. In Amazon, however, there are data transfer and request costs unlike in Rackspace where there is none. I will be evaluating the cases with Rackspace as backend storage since it is less expensive.

SpiderOak costs $10 per 100GB monthly or $100 per 100GB yearly. The first 2GB is also free.

Monthly Jungle Disk vs Monthly SpiderOak

Let us first consider the following case:

Jungle Disk SpiderOak
Monthly rate $2 + storage cost ($0.15 per GB-month) $10 per 100 GB
Notes
  • Rackspace storage
  • No perpetual license

The prices per consumed storage size is shown in Figure 1a. For Jungle Disk (JD), the storage size unit is GB-month while it is GB for SpiderOak (S0). There are intersections at x = {53, 120}. There is also a change of behavior around x = 100 (open point at (100, 20)). JD is cheaper only for 0 < x < 53 or 100 < x < 120. It is more expensive for all other cases. This suggests that for x < 53, it is better to use JD.

For 53 < x ≤ 100, it is less expensive to use SO. What if the capacity exceeded 100 GB? Should one switch to JD? If the initial used space is around 100-120 GB and would stay at that range for a long time, then JD should be chosen. However, if the used space stayed around 53-100 GB for a long time, the hassle of switching to JD from SO might not be worth it. As shown in Figure 1b, the absolute maximum price difference is only $3 which is much less than the price difference at 100 GB ($7). Of course, the longer the used storage space stays within 100 < x ≤ 120, the larger the accumulated price difference becomes.

Monthly JD, monthly SO prices vs storage size

(a)

Monthly JD and monthly SO price difference vs storage size

(b)

Figure 1. (a) Monthly Jungle Disk (black solid line) and monthly SpiderOak (red solid line) prices vs storage size (b) JD and SO price difference (black solid line) vs storage size

Perpetual Jungle Disk vs Monthly SpiderOak

Let us now consider the case wherein we bought a perpetual license for the Jungle Disk software at a cost of $20. We also assume that we subscribed to the optional features at $1 per month. The monthly rate would then be:

Jungle Disk SpiderOak
Monthly rate $1 + storage cost ($0.15 per GB-month) $10 per 100 GB
Notes
  • Rackspace storage
  • Perpetual license
  • Initial added cost of $20
  • Subscription to optional features

As expected, the price of JD became more competitive due to the shift in the intersection points. It is cheaper than SO for 0 < x <60 or 100 < x < 126 as shown in Figure 2a. The absolute maximum price difference of $4 in the range 100 < x < 126 is also slightly larger (Figure 2b).

In this scenario, choosing JD is tempting and switching to it from SO when x = 100 is reached seems okay.

(a)

(b)

Figure 2. (a) Perpetual Jungle Disk (black solid line) and monthly SpiderOak (red solid line) prices vs storage size (b) JD and SO price difference (black solid line) vs storage size

Perpetual Jungle Disk vs Annual SpiderOak

Another pricing option of SO is to pay annually. At a cost of $100 per 100 GB yearly, this is equivalent to about $8.33 per 100 GB monthly. In this scenario, we compare this option with the perpetual JD option as in the previous case. That is,

Jungle Disk SpiderOak
Monthly rate $1 + storage cost ($0.15 per GB-month) $8.33 per 100 GB
Notes
  • Rackspace storage
  • Perpetual license
  • Initial added cost of $20
  • Subscription to optional features
  • Annual option ($100 per GB)

There is only one significant intersection in the price vs storage size plots (Figure 3a) and it is at (49, 10). There is also an intersection near x = 100 but the difference and resulting range size are practically negligible. In this scenario, switching from SO to JD when the amount of storage used approaches 100 GB is no longer necessary. That is, if the storage used is greater than 49 GB, it’s SO all the way.

Figure 3. (a) Perpetual Jungle Disk (black solid line) and annual SpiderOak (red solid line) prices vs storage size (b) JD and SO price difference (black solid line) vs storage size

Conclusion

SpiderOak is usually less expensive than Jungle Disk. For  small amounts of storage space, Jungle Disk is cheaper. It is also less expensive for amounts slightly larger than 100 GB(-month). The best payment option is SpiderOak’s yearly subscription. Since SpiderOak is less expensive, it is likely to be the better choice and the only thing it needs to do is not suck i.e., it should be good enough for one’s purposes.

Caveat emptor: Only the direct cost (price) is considered here. The total cost would involve indirect costs. Note also the difference in the units (GB-month and GB). Since GB-month is an average, having 100 GB the entire month results to the same number of GB-month as having 0 GB for half a month and 200 GB for the rest of the month.

5 thoughts on “SpiderOak vs Jungle Disk price comparison

  1. Online Backups Review

    Great job – something I’ve always wondered, but didn’t want to take the time to figure out myself :)

    I’d like to add that SpiderOak has many other features, such as syncing multiple computers and sharing files with friends and colleagues. If you’re just looking at backups, you can ignore these features, but they may come in handy someday.

    Also, in the third paragraph, you mention Mozy and Coppermine. Did you mean Carbonite?

    Reply
  2. ianalis Post author

    Great job – something I’ve always wondered, but didn’t want to take the time to figure out myself :)

    Thanks!

    I’d like to add that SpiderOak has many other features, such as syncing multiple computers and sharing files with friends and colleagues. If you’re just looking at backups, you can ignore these features, but they may come in handy someday.

    The post is mainly a long note to myself but written in way that it would also be useful to others. Anyway, I’ll edit the post, as appropriate.

    Also, in the third paragraph, you mention Mozy and Coppermine. Did you mean Carbonite?

    Haha. My bad :) I’m thinking of the photo gallery.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Storage Costs of Jungle Disk vs SpiderOak | Online Backups Review

  4. Jay

    Great comparison… I just switched over to SpiderOak FROM Jungle disk. One thing to note is that JD charges for PUT/GET requests in addition to storage which usually equate to a few dollars a month for me. I don’t think SpiderOak has any such charge, also if you look around, SO offers discounts… I just got 20% off as a Reddit fan:

    www.onlinebackupdeals.com/spideroak/spideroak-offers-reddit-fans-20-off/

    I’m new to SO, so time will tell, but so far it looks great, and the sync feature is a great way of keeping photos in sync on multiple macs.

    Reply
  5. Christian Howd

    One other cost to consider with JD is the bandwidth cost. You stated that your comparison was for Rackspace, but many use Amazom S3, which charges for bandwidth. When I used JD, it was especially irritating to be charged for uploading files whenever I organized my file system. JD would upload previously uploaded files, due to the new file organization, and I would be charged for the bandwidth. With SO, there are no bandwidth fees. I feel the features of SO (sharing, online access, folder merging, syncing, unlimited devices, available on different operating systems) make it superior to JD.

    Reply

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