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Data Storage Businesses

Dropbox Shows How It Manages Costs By Deleting Inactive Accounts ( 29

Dropbox employs a somewhat unusual technique to lower its costs, the cloud software company revealed on Friday in its filing to go public . From a report: In a process the company calls "infrastructure optimization," Dropbox said it deletes users' accounts if they don't sign in for a year and don't respond to emails. That keeps the company from incurring storage costs for inactive users, a tactic Yahoo has used in the past. Dropbox said that the costs of revenue dropped 6 percent in 2017 to $21.7 million, mostly due to a $35.1 million reduction "in our infrastructure costs." As it prepares to lure public market investors, Dropbox is paying particularly close attention to its expenses. The company operates in an intensively competitive market against vendors including Apple, Amazon, Box, Google and Microsoft. Once reliant on Amazon Web Services , Dropbox has moved away from public cloud in recent years and has been building its own data center infrastructure to store the majority of user data. Another way it's managed costs is by making sure that there weren't too many copies of users' files on third-party infrastructure.
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Dropbox Shows How It Manages Costs By Deleting Inactive Accounts

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  • Would never have thought of doing that!
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Coming to a patent office near you...
      METHOD OF REDUCING server disk space consumption for an online service .... (By deleting inactive accounts)

  • Another way... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <> on Sunday February 25, 2018 @03:57PM (#56184855) Homepage Journal

    Another way they optimize revenue is by making sure that any shared files are credited to each user that is subscribed as if the whole file was stored for each user. When my brother shared a folder of family history photos and documents, there went my personal space. Which seems rather self defeating when you think of it - discouraging the reuse of files.

    Dropbox is great until you actually try and use it. That little shared file gem, coupled with the fact that their client self-updates with no ability to stop it meant that dropbox was uninstalled. I got myself a Linux virtual server - 20GB of space and a dedicated KVM CPU (the company I use, CACloud [], doesn't oversubscribe their physical cores) for $5 Canadian a month. With Syncthing [] being trivial to install, available for almost all platforms, and a fantastic (and effficient) way to share files, this gave me private cloud storage on a server I control. I trust a hosting provider in Canada far more than I trust Dropbox.

    What we really need is a specialized cloud services Linux distribution. Cloud server in a box. Webmail, Syncthing, maybe even Wordpress if you want it. Plug in your domain name (or make money by setting it up so sell them on setup), and your average user can have their data entirely on infrastructure they control. I was able to set all this up, and I'm sure it's no great stretch for most users here to do the same. But it would be nice if it was plug-and-play easy for anyone to do this. Start putting a dent in people trusting their data to places that don't have any vested interest in it besides monetizing it.

    • Nextcloud is a horrible mess of PHP with a fairly obnoxious license (AGPLv3), but it's currently the best option. They have desktop and mobile clients that work just like DropBox (e.g. auto-upload of photos, automatic syncing) and a bunch of plugins for other useful things (RSS aggregation, notes) and include CalDAV and CardDAV servers so that you can easily share calendars with your family.
    • I just moved from Dropbox to Syncthing a couple of months ago too, and it's been great so far. In my case, my "server" is a simple Raspberry Pi with a 2TB external harddrive at home, with Alpine Linux, Syncthing for "cloud", and rsnapshot for remote backups.
    • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
      I get 1TB for about $15 a quarter, although the price has gone up a bit and you have to pay in Euro's. Check my sig.
  • Unusual? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is extremely commonplace. All the major mail providers do it. Google Apps does it. I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of services with a free tier does things this way.

  • You know what they say... if you want to be successful, model yourself after someone successful!

  • by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @05:41PM (#56185111) Homepage

    I'd say smart.

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @06:46PM (#56185329) Homepage Journal

    They did this too long ago. I am sure many other free host services as well.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun