Reality has its way of creepin’ up on Silicon Valley every once in a while. On Thursday, October 23, 2014, the Tech Crunch “disruptor” Bitcasa finally ceded to reality, despite a pretty long run of unreliably providing “infinite” storage. Unreliable, you ask? Read on ~
Those who know me well, know that whenever a company offers “unlimited” or “infinite” storage to me, they always end up regretting it and then backing out of it somehow. Every single time.
Somehow, though, with Bitcasa, I actually didn’t see it coming. I signed up very early on for their beta. For a long time, they had no pricing structure and I uploaded as much data as I could. I have terabytes upon terabytes of data that I would love to get in the cloud, yet, to date, I have only been able to successfully upload 6.5 terabytes of data to the Bitcasa service.
The first iteration of Bitcasa’s desktop client was so buggy it crashed trying to upload a 4GB ISO file. I subsequently broke the file down into split RAR files. At 500MB increments, it would still crash. So I finally split it into 10MB partitions and after a week, was able to get all 4GB into the service.
They’ve had iteration after iteration of their desktop client. Each time, reliability would not necessarily improve. In fact, after one significant update, many terabytes of data were suddenly missing. Bitcasa support helped me navigate through my old versions and restore the data that way. After an extensive analysis, they concluded that my “manifest” was too large (over 100MB), and because I was using “too many devices” (4), the manifest was not properly updating and causing it to delete files. As you might imagine, this was extremely alarming to me that Bitcasa had the ability to suddenly vanish terabytes of client data. This happened multiple times over the ensuing months.
Ever since that day, I went on a spree trying to reduce the manifest by creating large *.7z archives of all of my files rather than simply copying over the raw data. I created a hash database of each file since they were so large, I needed to be able to verify that the data was being stored perfectly by Bitcasa. I would use Bitcasa’s suggestion of using Robocopy to upload the data, but one of my massive 354GB *.7z archives failed a hash verification (among, later on, other files as well). Bitcasa support was stumped and suggested I re-upload it. So I did, four times, which took well over a month because their de-duplication (delta copy) system actually takes longer to “upload” than it does to simply upload the raw data at 2,000KB/s.
Later, Bitcasa suggested that I “reset” my account because they have updated their filesystem since the beta and it would resolve my many issues. After much planning, I finally did the “reset” and continued uploading data to the new account. The hash continued to fail on the critical 354GB file, and Bitcasa ran out of support ideas.
Shortly thereafter, I received the e-mail stating that Bitcasa is finally giving up on their “vision” of infinite storage, and giving me less than a month to select the “Pro” plan at $999 per year (up from my current beta-special $99 per year for infinite) or they will delete all of my data.
“As a current infinite plan subscriber that is using less than 10TB of space, you have the option to convert to our new Pro plan, which offers 10TB for $99/mo. or $999/yr.“
I don’t think that I can even download and store all 6.5TB of my data locally in that amount of time. Moreover, the only reason why I don’t currently have over 10TB of data on Bitcasa’s servers is because their service has never been reliable enough for me to simply continuously upload my data to their “infinite drive.”
I have never once recommended Bitcasa to anyone — the reason being simply that their reliability has been so bad. At this point, they have rendered themselves irrelevant (in the consumer space). There is absolutely nothing left to differentiate Bitcasa from excellent, reliable cloud service providers like ProSoftNet’s iDrive, which I do recommend to clients and friends.
Bitcasa is not only unreliable after years of development and twenty two million dollars in funding, but effectively a bait-and-switch fraud of a cloud service that has cost my business thousands of dollars in lost productivity and bandwidth.
This event is likely an ominous foreshadowing to what happens when the rest of Silicon Valley’s investments hit reality. No, Yo is not worth the millions of dollars in VC that it somehow raised. No, Bitcasa was definitely not worth the millions it raised. No, Snapchat is not worth the three billion dollars offered to it by Facebook.
Look elsewhere for a cloud service that won’t try to extort money from you and simultaneously provide unreliable service.
10/28/2014 Update: I get a little notification box from Bitcasa, click the link, and they can’t even perfect their own pitch to extort $999 from me. Nice.