On cloud storage

Seems like every day we’re flooded with new consumer-targeted cloud storage companies, promising easy backups and possibly tempting prices. And most of them have a free tier, offering a few GB to give us a taste. Some examples – AVG LiveKive (5GB free), SpiderOak (2GB free), Box.net (5GB free), SugarSync (5GB free), Windows Live SkyDrive (25GB free), Dropbox (2GB free), Memopal (3GB free), and even Comcast (2GB free) if you’re a customer. There are plenty of others, but you get the idea.

If you add those up, you’re at 49GB, which is a pretty reasonable amount of storage.

Seems like what we need is an app that looks something like Jungle Disk to the user, that can present a single view, but aggregate storage from multiple places on the back end. So essentially you’d see a 49GB disk in the Finder or Explorer, but your stuff would be distributed among whatever storage you’ve configured.

Even better, a Super Jungle Disk-like app, which can still present a unified view to the user, but actually store your stuff on multiple back ends, so you effectively have a RAID-1 (e.g. mirrored) storage solution. So maybe your 500MB of photos get stored on both Box.net and Dropbox, but in any case are seamlessly managed by this front-end tool on your desk.

Sort of a cloud-storage Drobo. Now that would be cool.

7 thoughts on “On cloud storage

  1. Brian R

    Nifty idea, but seems like a lot of work. I guess sometimes you have to work really hard at being a freeloader. :)

    Seriously though, I wonder if cloud storage is cheap enough to make this kind of thing not worthwhile for most people. Similar to how iTunes & Amazon have gotten cheap enough that many people don’t bother to pirate music anymore. That 49GB would only cost you about $7/month, and then you wouldn’t have to sign up for a bunch of different free accounts.

  2. Tom

    Or you could spend $100 on a 1TB HDD and not give 20 strange websites all your data to paw through, and then subsequently send you targeted advertising based on the fact you once took a photo of a rattan giraffe. But what about backup you say? Ok spend $205 and get 2 drives, and a nice hot latte to reward yourself for not spreading you digital crap around the internet where a) no matter how much they may claim not to look at your stuff, they can and will, and b) how many more usr/pwd combos do you want to remember? You’re going to need a new local HDD just to store your cloud IDs on.

    1. Brian R

      I wouldn’t worry that much about the vendors reading your data. If you’re going to go to all that effort to spread your data around, you can spend 5 minutes to encrypt it first. And you don’t have to worry that one spilled latte (or fire, or 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami) will destroy both of your drives.

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