Cloud Storage Services

Discussion in 'Ask DACS' started by jeanned, May 23, 2012.

  1. jeanned

    jeanned New Member

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    I would like to use the cloud for data storage and therefore am seeking recommendations on which service to use. As per the March 2012 newsletter, I looked for a thread regarding this topic in the forum but did not find it. If it is there, please let me know how to find it. If not, I am interested in knowing the features and recommendations of which service to use. Thanks.
    Jeanne
     
  2. dragonbite

    dragonbite Well-Known Member

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    You are right, there was a thread started for the Cloud Services but it was (foolishly?) placed in a restricted location for ideas and outlines for a DACS presentation. This looks like as good as any place to include a more accessible thread on the subject.

    There are many cloud storage services out there, and it seems more are announcing a service of one sort or another every week. Therefore it would be better to narrow down the list based on what your needs are and what you are looking to do with it.

    • How much space are you looking at putting in the cloud?
      (e.g. just files from school? your whole music collection? the entire hard drive? backups?)
    • Why are you putting it in the cloud?
      (e.g. backup?, accessibility?, duplicate on multiple machines?)
    • What types of system(s) do you use?
      (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS (or iPhone/iPad), Android, Windows Phone)
    • Do you use any services that offer cloud drives?
      (e.g. GMail includes Google Drive, Hotmail/Live includes SkyDrive, Ubuntu Linux includes Ubuntu One, Amazon includes Cloud Drive, Apple has iCloud)

    For example, I use my cloud storage services so I can duplicate my files automatically between my desktop, may laptop and be able to add/edit/modify files from my work computer. One reason is to make it easy to get my files when I try another Linux distribution, or run a clean install to upgrade to the next version.

    So my "why?" is for easy duplication, my files systems is Windows and Linux and since I don't stick with just Ubuntu (which includes Ubuntu One) I use Dropbox as one of my systems.

    There are other cross-platform options but Dropbox includes a Sync-over-LAN feature that the other systems don't have and which makes Dropbox for in my circumstances 1,000% better than the alternatives.

    But this may not be right for your needs.
     
  3. richardc

    richardc Administrator
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    Answering dragonbite's questions will help narrow your search for a cloud service.

    I've been trying out Microsoft's SkyDrive service. I like that it can sync a folder on all of my Mac and Windows computers. My SkyDrive folder is also available on my iPhone. SkyDrive gives me the ability to share a large file with someone without attaching the file to an e-mail. (I can just send them a link.) If you decide to look at Microsoft's SkyDrive, there is a thread in the Windows SIG forum here: http://forum.dacs.org/thread-403.html .
     
  4. dragonbite

    dragonbite Well-Known Member

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    The biggest limitation I find is space.

    I've blissfully allowed myself to forget about it for a while with using SkyDrive before these recent updates and so got to keep my 25 GB! All of my Libraries default to a SkyDrive folder so I don't have to do or think anything different and they are stored online. With Dropbox, I have to keep track a little more cautiously.

    There are some out there which claim larger options (like up to 30 GB?!) but looking carefully I haven't grown to trust that service after reading their disclaimers and security practices, etc. That's one reason why I stick with the more popular ones.
     
  5. jeanned

    jeanned New Member

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    Thank you for the responses, the questions and link to the skydrive thread.
    As far as the questions:
    How much space are you looking at putting in the cloud?
    (e.g. just files from school? your whole music collection? the entire hard drive? backups?)
    answer - probably my data files, all documents, I think I would use something else for pictures, and not my music collection, it is more than the 7 free GB but I can probably get away with the + 20 GB for $10 per year that skydrive offers
    Why are you putting it in the cloud?
    (e.g. backup?, accessibility?, duplicate on multiple machines?)
    answer - Primarily, I am putting it in the cloud so I can get to the same data from multiple machines even if not on a LAN, to add/update/delete and keep them in sync, though backup and accessibility would be nice too.
    What types of system(s) do you use?
    (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS (or iPhone/iPad), Android, Windows Phone)
    answer - I have 2 desktops (1 windows 7, the other vista), 1 laptop - windows 7 and will have windows 7 at work, will be getting an iPad soon, and a smart phone soon, not sure what OS for the phone
    Do you use any services that offer cloud drives?
    (e.g. GMail includes Google Drive, Hotmail/Live includes SkyDrive, Ubuntu Linux includes Ubuntu One, Amazon includes Cloud Drive, Apple has iCloud)
    answer - I use gmail

    Regarding LAN sync, do all machines have to be on at the same time to sync them? how does sync work in skydrive?
    Does that point to a clearer solution? sounds like either skydrive or dropbox is the solution. Any suggestions as per my answers. I appreciate the guidance. Thanks.
    [hr]
    Photos - I was reading the skydrive thread and see that photos sound manageable in skydrive. what would be the cloud suggestion for photos, or would it be the same issues as for non-photo files? I haven't given that as much thought because my more immediate need is for my data files be accessible and in sync.
     
  6. dragonbite

    dragonbite Well-Known Member

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    SkyDrive is very well priced compared to the others.
    Google comes out to almost $30/year for 20 GB of space and that storage space is shared between Google Drive and Picasa.
    Dropbox gives 50GB but charges $10/month or $100/year (saves $20 if you pay for the full year at once)

    Also, if you use Office 2010 (maybe 2007) there are ways you can open your files through the browser and when you click Save, it saves it on the cloud storage location, not your local machine.

    A Synchronization solution sounds like the best for you, as opposed to Amazon's cloud drive and similar solutions. You'll have each system that Synchronizes with a version of the files as well as the cloud storage. So even with only one computer, you have 2 copies of everything.

    Sounds like most solutions will work.

    So you already have free Google Drive storage and optional Google Drive synchronization available with that account. They give you 5 GB for free and you can purchase more ($30 / year for 20 GB) and that space is shared between Google Drive and Picasaweb (for photos).

    Each computer you want to synchronize will have the program, SkyDrive for example, installed and associated with your account. When one computer adds/edits a file in the SkyDrive folder it sends the new/changed version of the file is uploaded to the cloud storage server.

    Any other computer on, or turned on afterwards, "checks in" with the cloud storage server and will see that there is a new/updated file in the cloud storage server. These computers will then start to download this new/update file and make any other changes so what is on the local machine looks like what is in the cloud storage server.

    I know Live Photo has a SkyDrive export feature but I just have Windows import my photos into a specified folder in my (local) SkyDrive folder. The SkyDrive does its thing and will begin synchronizing those pictures with the cloud server.

    I then go through the browser and elect whether I want to share the folder with family and friends, or not.

    Also, if you change any pictures such as rotating, or tagging people, in Live Photo those changes are included in the file and you will see the modified version when you look at them online through a browser.

    For example I started tagging people in pictures, and those tags were carried through synchronization so when I look at them online I see those same tags.

    I've been putting all of my files in my SkyDrive and even with my digital pictures from my point-and-shoot camera I have only taken up about 7 GB of space. Luckily I had the account early enough I "upgraded" and got back my 25 GB of space. If it ever were to become available for Linux, I would probably drop Dropbox for SkyDrive for everything.
    [hr]
    I haven't read through the whole article yet, but I did find one comparing some cloud storage solutions.

    Apple iCloud vs Google vs Amazon Cloud Drive vs Dropbox vs Microsoft SkyDrive
     
  7. jeanned

    jeanned New Member

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    Thank you for the great information and clear analysis. The article offered a lot of pros and cons in several categories. Sounds like skydrive is the one for me, though I will look at the Android issue, just in case that is the phone I end with.

    I will try it.
     

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