It seems that everyone with a computer or mobile device spends a lot of time acquiring data and then trying to find a way to store it.
For some computer / mobile owners, finding enough storage space to hold all the data they've acquired is a real challenge. Some people invest in larger hard drives. Others prefer external storage devices like thumb drives or compact discs. Desperate few might delete entire folders worth of old files in order to make space for new information. But some are choosing to rely on a growing trend: cloud storage.
Cloud Storage: Cloud storage is the storage of your files and media on the "cloud", i.e. someone else's servers. There's a few services that offer this, the most famous being Dropbox (2GB+ free storage), but there are other options such as Minus (10GB+ free storage) and Box.net (idk how much free storage) as well. Then there's also specialized services such as Google Music and Amazon Music as well for, you guessed it, music.
There are a few advantages and disadvantages to cloud storage.
- No need for extra hardware (i.e. SD card, thumb drive)
- Automatic synchronization
- Um, I'm sure you guys can think of more, I'm drawing a blank right now
- Requires constant connection, either via data or wifi
- Potentially slow over 3G or weak Wifi
- Streaming movies is difficult, if not impossible (at least with Dropbox, etc.)
- Eats up a limited data plan quickly
While cloud storage sounds like it has something to do with weather fronts and storm systems, it really refers to saving data to an off-site storage system maintained by a third party. Instead of storing information to your computer's hard drive or other local storage device, you save it to a remote database. The Internet provides the connection between your computer and the database.
On the surface, cloud storage has several advantages over traditional data storage. For example, if you store your data on a cloud storage system, you'll be able to get to that data from any location that has Internet access. You wouldn't need to carry around a physical storage device or use the same computer to save and retrieve your information. With the right storage system, you could even allow other people to access the data, turning a personal project into a collaborative effort.
So cloud storage is convenient and offers more flexibility, but how does it work? Share your experience with us through your comments.