Plex Cloud Sounded Great…..Until….

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So about a month ago I jumped on this bandwagon.  I figured….why not.  Everyone else is doing it.  Not because I wanted to cut the cord.  Mostly so I could enjoy my media library on multiple devices and share it with friends and family.  I built a couple of test servers locally using some old NAS gear.  Now, most people that know me understand I’m sort of a cloud first guy.  Anything I can do that’s not locally managed I love.  As I was building my test servers Plex announced Plex Cloud using Amazon Cloud Drive with unlimited storage for $60 a year!  Well, that sounded awesome…..until….

The first thing was I could not even find anyone in the Plex Cloud Beta.  I signed up for it started a new Plex Pass Lifetime, but got no responses on testing it.  Let’s face it, I’m good at breaking stuff and being a cloud first person I wanted to beat on this thing and give some feedback.  So instead I moved on with my local builds watching my E-Mail.

Earlier this month we all got the email about more Beta users getting added on December 5th.  Awesome….then nothing

Then yesterday the worst news of all that I personally think may kill the entire effort of Plex Cloud.

A few weeks ago we shared with you that we’ve had challenges integrating Amazon Drive as a storage option for Plex Cloud. The team has worked tirelessly to address these issues, improve the scalability and performance of our infrastructure, and to expand storage options by introducing support for Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, all of which are working great. Unfortunately, the challenges with Amazon Drive have proven insurmountable at this time, so we have decided to remove Amazon Drive as a storage option for Plex Cloud for the foreseeable future.

Why is this such a big deal?  Well forget the arguments of all the media you may have that’s not legally yours and putting it on the cloud of your choice.  The cost alone for large media libraries is now pretty much a show stopper and here is why.

Google Drive For Plex Cloud

I LOVE Google Drive.  I use it all the time.  I have a paid account which is perfect for a lot of things.  The unfortunate part is their cost model sucks for Plex Cloud and here is why.

  • 1TB = $9.99/month = $119.88 / Year
  • 10TB = 99.99/month = $1199.88 / Year

Most people are going to be somewhere in between 1TB and 10TB for a while.

Dropbox For Plex Cloud

Like most people I also use Dropbox Pro.  The only problem here is with Pro you can only get 1TB of storage total.  I have not seen a way to add storage to the Pro version.  Now at least this is $100 / year for 1TB so it’s actually cheaper than the Google Drive 1TB option by about $20.  It’s better but still nothing larger than 1TB is the issue.

  • 1TB (Maximum) = $99 / Year

OneDrive For Plex Cloud

With OneDrive you can only get 50GB for $1.99 per month unless you upgrade to Office365 personal or Home.  Now at least with Home you get 5 users each with 1TB for the same $9.99 per month as Google Drive.  At the end of the day you are limited to your 1TB of space like Dropbox and for the most part Google Drive.  So at the end of the day:

  • 1TB (Maximum)= $9.99 / Month = $119.88 / Year

Is Plex Cloud Now Even Functional?

Amazon Cloud Drive is $60 a year for UNLIMITED Storage!  That is a pretty awesome option compared to all the others with their cost and storage caps.  Even if you combined 1TB of space on each of the other three (Dropbox, GoogleDrive, and OneDrive), you are still looking at roughly $320 a year for only 3TB of storage.  Then yo you then need to mix and match your media so you can get the most out of your space.  That is assuming you are not using it for anything else of course.

I realize they ran into technical issues but their value add even on the website when it was announced was using it with Amazon Cloud Drive for $60 a year, unlimited storage.  I think without that story, Plex Cloud becomes “nice” but not really very cost-effective.  Most people have spent good money building local solutions so shelling out more money to cloud vendors for 3TB of space is insane.  I would venture to guess most people have well over 3TB locally they have access to.

Frankly, they should have not even released the Beta, or announced it unless they had a working solution on Amazon Cloud Drive seeing as I am assuming they are using EC2 for the compute resources of the cloud based application.  All in all seems like a huge flash in the pan that got a lot of people excited, but now in the end I’m not sure if the cost outweighs the novelty.  The best part is all those Beta people that spent time uploading to Amazon Cloud that need to migrate that data to the other clouds….and shell out more money.  Now I’m sort of glad I was not picked to participate.  It now seems it was not really even half-baked to push out to Beta.

I guess we will see how many people can functionally use it.  My goal was to use the cloud based server to share to friends and family to save my bandwidth at the house, but now who knows.

About Chris Colotti

Chris is currently a Principal Architect at VMware focussing on VMware Cross Cloud Architecture. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spend a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. He now spends his time working on various Global Services programs within his group and he still is involved with conducting VCDX Workshops. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her decorated apparel business as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years. Now he spreads both the word of technology and fitness along with the Team Beachbody Business through his blogs.

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