Still storing data on your local hard drive? It’s time to get with the times. Cloud storage – files saved remotely on Internet-based servers – is the new big thing. Cloud storage also means that your data is safe if your hard disk dies and it is also with you when you’re on the road.
One of the leaders in the consumer cloud storage space is undoubtedly Dropbox:
One of the best known of the cloud storage services, Dropbox is also one of the best. Most users will be more than happy with Dropbox’s free service which gives users 2GB of online storage. Paying $10 or $20 dollars a month ups that space to 50GB and 100GB respectively. Dropbox works on all major platforms including Linux, Windows and Mac OS X and integrates tightly and neatly into the desktop. Drop files into the designated folder and synchronise automatically with your online share. Android, iPhones and Blackberry devices are also supported.
Of course, Dropbox is not alone. Here are a few other suggestions if you’re keen to join the cloud storage generation.
SpiderOak also offers users 2GB of storage space for free with each additional 100GB of space costing $10. Like Dropbox SpiderOak works on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux as well as having an iPhone application as well as a brand new Android application. SpiderOak’s particular value proposition is its serious privacy controls, which ensures all synchronisations are secure and data is encrypted at all times.
ZumoDrive is another cross-platform application, supporting Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. It also includes support for iPhones, Android and Palm Pre mobile devices. ZumoDrive doesn’t offer as as much space as Dropbox or SpiderOak, offering 1GB for free and 10GB starting at $2.99. ZumoDrive is a bit more expensive than other similar services but adds a few extra twists. Unlike many of the other services ZumoDrive stores all data online and only retrieves it when you need it, while others synchronise your data to all connected devices. The advantage is that less hard drive space is used. The disadvantage is that you need to be online to access data properly.
Unlike the others here OpenDrive doesn’t support Linux. But it does support Windows and Mac OS X. OpenDrive offers 5GB data storage for free and paid-for plans start at $5 a month for 100GB. OpenDrive does also limit the number of devices that can run the service simultaneously.
SugarSync also offers 5GB of storage for free and supports Windows and Mac OS X machines. It also supports iPhone, Android and Blackberry but doesn’t support Linux. Paid-for services start at around $5 for 30GB of storage. SugarSync includes solid versioning support so that older versions of files can be retrieved at a later point.
UbuntuOne is primarily a Linux-based storage service offered by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux. Initially designed to support Ubuntu desktops there is now also an Android client and an iPhone one, though those are paid for accounts. There is also a beta version of UbuntuOne for Windows desktops. The basic 2GB package is free and paid-for plans start at $2.99 for each 20GB add-on. UbuntuOne is tightly integrated into the Ubuntu desktop and is only now starting to move into other platforms.