23 Nov 2022


Comparative Analysis of Google Cloud Storage and Apple’s iCloud

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Academic level: University

Paper type: Research Paper

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Cloud Storage in General 

Cloud storage is a service platform that facilitates the management and backing up of data remotely on the cloud. In networking and telecommunications, the cloud is a public or quasi-public space found on transmission lines existing between the end-points of a transmission. The cloud allows the storage and access of data and information through the internet. The cloud, while providing potentially impregnable protection capabilities for data backup and recovery in times of disaster, enhances reliability and accessibility of the data [9]. The cloud facilitates rapid deployment of data. Cloud services help users to reduce data storage costs since they do not have to purchase and pay for the regular maintenance of costly data storage hardware.

There are four types of cloud storage i.e. personal, private, and public and hybrid cloud storage [10]. Personal storage enables individuals to store and access their personal data on the cloud using any device. In Public cloud storage, the cloud storage service providers fully manage the data stored in their facilities by users while in private cloud storage, the storage service provider’s infrastructure is incorporated into the user’s data centers. Private cloud storage addresses the user’s security and performance concerns to some degree while at the same time providing the privileges of cloud storage. Hybrid storage is a colligation of both public and private cloud storage [1]. Here, some data are stored in the user’s data centers while other data are stored by the public cloud storage provider. There is a wide variety of cloud storage service providers in the market today. The list comprises of, among others, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, HP Cloud Object Storage, Dropbox and iCloud. This write - up shall focus on Google cloud storage and iCloud.

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Google Cloud Storage 

Google cloud storage is a file storage that facilitates the storage and accessibility of data on Google’s infrastructure. This service is more suitable for developers and enterprises [2]. Google cloud offers multi – regional, cold line, regional, and near line data storage classes to enterprises. Multi-regional storage is best suited for storage of data that is frequently required and accessed. These data include, among others, website content and interactive workloads. This type of storage offers clients the most availability. Multi –regional storage is geo-redundant, meaning that the same versions of an enterprise’s data are stored in at least two separate locations within 100 miles of each other. Geo – redundancy is made possible by the situation of several Google data center within every multi-regional location. Geo – redundancy ensures that a client’s data is readily available even in case of a disaster that renders one data center inoperable.

Regional data storage allows the backup of an enterprise’s data in a specific regional location, instead of having the same versions of data stored in different locations as is the case in multi-regional storage. Regional storage is cheaper as it minifies network costs and it is most suitable for storage of data that is applied to Google Compute Engine instances. When data is stored in and accessed from a single location, the performance of data intensive computer operations is enhanced. The nearline storage allows backup of data that an enterprise does not require to access and use frequently. With the reduced access requirements comes low storage charges which make nearline storage a perfect fit for organizations that want to archive data that they do not need to use on a regular basis. Coldline storage is most appropriate for storage of data that does not need to be accessed more than once per year. This type of storage, though offering low availability, is costly when you need to access the data as it provides the data within milliseconds of requesting for access. Coldline storage is the best for storage for data that needs to be accessed at lightening speeds in the event of a natural or human-made disaster.

Features of Google Cloud Storage 

Google cloud storage offers secure, high-quality and available data whenever an enterprise needs to access the data. The enhanced availability of the data is made possible by Google’s consistent Application Programming Interface (API), the little time it takes for a particular block of data on a data path to revolve around to the read/write head and top notch speeds across the four types of storage classes. Google cloud storage uses its multi-regional storage class that has the highest availability to offer optimal accessibility of live data such as website and video streaming content [5]. With the regional storage class, enterprises and developers get the best storage provisions for data that is used in batch processing and analytics.

Google cloud storage offers the client several storage options to choose from depending on their storage, archiving and accessibility requirements. For data that needs to be accessed several times a year, the client can opt for nearline storage. For data that only requires being accessed once a year, the client can go with the coldline storage class option. Google cloud storage enables seamless movement of data from one storage class to the other upon request from the owners of the data. The need to change classes is informed by the changes in the accessibility requirements of the clients and the costs associated with these storage classes. Google cloud storage is considerably cost effective as it has no fees and applies a pay-per-use model. Google implements the most sophisticated data encryption mechanisms to ensure that their client’s data is always safe from cyber and other forms of attacks.

The Strengths of Google Cloud Storage 

With Google cloud storage, enterprises can be assured of the durability of their data. With multi-regional storage classes, the data is stored in several different locations which means that even if one becomes inoperable, the clients’ data will still be there. Google cloud storage also carries out regular automatic checks on the data to ensure that its credibility stays intact. Google cloud storage provides clients with optimal scalability [8]. This means that there is readily available storage support, whether the client is developing a small stand-alone application or a vast and complex exbibyte – scale system. All Google cloud storage classes offer high availability. An enterprise has unlimited access to its data whenever it requires it. Google cloud storage also provides data consistency by ensuring that when a write operation is carried out on a certain piece of data, a copy of the written object is automatically sent to a storage location.

Using the Google cloud platform, enterprises can analyze their data with the Google Compute Engine. Developers can use the Firebase Software Development Kits for cloud storage to load content to websites and mobile applications. Enterprises can host their websites on Google’s cloud infrastructure and use the Google cloud platform console to drag and drop data to the cloud.

Apple’s iCloud 

ICloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing facility from the technology giant, Apple. ICloud lets users to stock data such as documents, photos, music files and much more on servers in inaccessible locations. It also allows users to download content from the cloud infrastructure to their Windows, iOS or Macintosh gadgets, share and send information to other users and manage their Apple devices in cases of theft or destruction.

Features of iCloud 

The iCloud Drive is a file holding service that permits users to store data in iCloud drive and access it on and Apple or Microsoft device. It offers 5GB of free storage, but users who require more storage capacity than that have to pay a monthly subscription whose amount is dependent on the storage requirements. The iCloud photo library offers the user of Apple devices running iOS 8.1 or OS X Yosemite or later versions of these operating systems, with photo storage capabilities [6]. The data backup and restore feature facilitates the automatic storage of documents on iCloud, so long as the Apple device is locked, connected to the internet and plugged into a power source. The Back to My Mac feature allows users to log into other computer devices remotely, provided that these devices have a similar Apple Identification and their Back to My Mac feature enabled.

iCloud offers an email account that users can access from any Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) compatible email client and the app at icloud.com. Through the Find My Friends feature provided by iCloud, users can share their locations with friends, family, schoolmates, colleagues and much more. The Find My iPhone feature that comes as an in-built app in Apple devices running iOS 9 and later versions of the operating system, allows users to remotely manage their Apple devices when they get lost or stolen. Using this feature, the owners of the lost device can track its location, send a message to it, change its authentication credentials and delete all the sensitive data on the device. The iCloud Keychain functions as a secure and fortified repository for the storage of a user’s critical information. This information comprises of, among others, passwords, credit and debit card information, social security numbers and bank account information [4]. Some of the privacy and security features provided by iCloud include 256 – byte encryption and two-factor authentication mechanisms to ensure the safety of user information.

Comparison between Google cloud storage and apple’s iCloud 

The major variances between these two cloud storage service providers appear in their pricing rates, the platforms they support and the typical customer who use their services. While the Google cloud storage is best suited for enterprises and developers, iCloud can be used across-the-board, by both individual users and enterprises as well. Storage charges on Google cloud storage are primarily determined by the storage class of choice for a client while the storage costs on iCloud are determined by the storage capacity the client requires. The two tables below demonstrate the pricing parameters for both Google cloud storage and iCloud respectively.

Multi – Regional  Frequent, Cross – Regional  US$0.026 per GB/Month  Free 
Regional  Frequent, Single – Region  US$0.02 per GB/Month  Free 
Nearline  Less than once per month  US$0.01 per GB/Month  US$0.01 per GB 
Coldline  Less than once per year  US$0.007 per GB/Month  US$0.05 per GB 


50GB  US$0.99/Month 
200GB  US$2.99/Month 
1TB  US$9.00/Month 
2TB  US$19.99/Month 



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“Cloud Storage - Online Data Storage,” Google Cloud Computing, Hosting Services & APIs | Google Cloud Platform, 2017. [Online]. Available: https://cloud.google.com/. [Accessed: 20-Apr-2017].

F. Shahzad, “State-of-the-art Survey on Cloud Computing Security Challenges, Approaches and Solutions,” Procedia Computer Science, vol. 37, pp. 357–362, 2014.

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“iCloud,” Apple. [Online]. Available: https://www.apple.com/icloud/. [Accessed: 20-Apr-2017].

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V. Roussev and S. McCulley, “Forensic analysis of cloud-native artifacts,” Digital Investigation, vol. 16, 2016.

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