Unlimited Local Storage for $12 per Month. Really.

I have a 48TB NAS in my basement. Granted, thanks to RAID6 I only (only!) have 36TB of usable space, but still, I assumed that would last me forever. Thanks to ripping DVDs and Blurays, I was so very, very wrong. Rather than spend a few thousand dollars on a new NAS, however, I decided to host my files in the cloud. The storage is unlimited for $12/month, and after 6 months or so, I can tell you it’s a viable alternative to local storage. Plus, it mounts exactly like a local NAS!

The Service

There are plenty of cloud-based storage solutions available, but they are all either very limited in storage space, or very expensive per GB. There is one solution, however, that provides unlimited storage for a set monthly price. Google Drive.

Officially, in order to get unlimited storage, you must get a Business Gsuite with 5 users. Each user is $12/month, and so you’d have to pay $60/month to get unlimited storage. Honestly, $60 a month for that much space is still insanely affordable — but if you open a Business Gsuite account with a single user (so only $12/mo), you still get unlimited storage. It might seem like an error Google would quickly fix, but it’s been that way for years. I’m currently using more than 40TB of space on my Google Drive, and only have a single user on my Gsuite for Business.

The Problem

Google Drive is nice, but let’s be honest, no one wants to use their web interface as bulk storage. It’s clumsy, slow, and as much as I love Google, the organization is confusing at best. Google does provide “Google Drive Stream”, but due to local caching, you still need local storage or you get “not enough space” errors.

Thankfully, Rclone makes direct access to Google Drive seamless. It allows you to create access via keypair (no annoying logging in all the time), and even lets you mount your remote share on your local filesystem. And in true Steve Jobs “one more thing” fashion, it also allows you to encrypt files and directories in real time, so your privacy is protected even if your data is stored on someone else’s hard drive. It’s seriously amazing. And Rclone? Open Source and totally free!

The Process

Rclone is in most Linux distributions, and even has Windows and OSX versions available that all work similarly. In this video, I show you how to quickly set up a share and mount it on the local filesystem. If it seems too good to be true, yeah, I get that. But I’ve been using it for months and I’ve been more than impressed. It’s been reliable, and robust enough to support a handful of users reading and writing at the same time.

You can do a bit of extra work to create your own application API, which will make the performance more robust. It doesn’t cost any extra money, but it’s admittedly a bit of confusing clicking.

The Training?

You probably know I create training for a living. I have more in-depth training on rclone over at CBT Nuggets. If you’re already a subscriber, you can go to https://snar.co/cbt-rclone to get to the skill directly.

If you’re not yet a subscriber at CBT Nuggets, you can see my Everything Linux course overview, which includes my rclone skill and many others. Feel free to sign up for a free trial if you want to view my training. https://snar.co/cbt-everythinglinux

(This isn’t a creepy bait and switch — the free video above really does walk you through the process. There’s just more capability if you’re interested in diving in deeper, and want to check out my professional DayJob training!)

4 thoughts on “Unlimited Local Storage for $12 per Month. Really.

  1. Hey Shawn, long time! I saw that you then deleted most of your data on your NAS after doing this for yourself. Why not just use rclone on the NAS to use gdrive as your remote backup?

    I have been looking for my solution for this for a while and I’ve seen it mentioned in the relevant subreddits (datahoarder, homelab, etc) that they’re expecting the free lunch from Google to go away in the not distant future, just as it’s done for all the rest “all you can eat” services.

    What are your long term plans there?

    1. Greg! Long time indeed! Ugh, I didn’t know Google might not offer unlimited storage in the future? If it’s just the thing where they don’t enforce the 5 user limit, I’ll just have to pay the $60/mo for 5 users. It’s still MUCH cheaper than buying new drives.

      If the entire program is going away… I guess I’ll have to buy drives again. I have gigabit fiber at my farm, so I will be able to download all the stuff in a week instead of months. Still, that would suck.

      I’m confident that since I’m using a paid service, at the very least they’d give me time to download everything.

    2. Oh, and why I don’t just put rclone on the nas — I need bulk storage I can regularly access. It’s not just a backup, it’s my main NAS replacement. I’ve run out of space on the NAS. For the past few months, when I was just *almost* out of space, I was actually keeping data local and remotely. I was actively using the data on Google Drive, but kept a local backup just in case.

    3. Thanks for the answers! Yeah, I hope that since you’re a paying customer it’ll not be a bad situation.

      I guess I also failed to realize how much data you were dealing with. Dang video content creators 🙂

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