The Sky is Infinite: Storage in the Cloud
In the early age of computers, storage was a precious commodity. Programs were written with such tight coding so as to take as little memory and storage as possible. As technology advanced, storage and memory expanded, with the option for additional memory to be connected physically. Even this solution had limits and it requires carrying around USB memory sticks or portable hard drives. Imagine being able to save terabytes of data and have it available anywhere.
Welcome to the age of cloud storage. File hosting used to be viable option only for business as the price tag was not affordable for the average. Now, there are a plethora of file storage cloud service providers, that offer multiple options and solutions for the individual subscriber. Storage solutions can be either free, paid for or a combination of both. For the most part, storage limits can be upgraded quite easily, and for services that charge, subscribers only pay for the amount of storage they use. The method of file transfer varies with each provider; some offering a software installed on a client’s machine, some using an FTP service, some employing a simple and easy to use web interface.
Unlike other cloud services, when it comes to cloud storage, there are quite a few options to choose from. The big name providers include: Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft. Amazon’s cloud storage product, Amazon Cloud Drive, offers consumers up to 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage free, with an annual cost for storage upgrades after that. Subscribers can upload to or download from their Cloud Drive storage account from either a desktop application or a web session. Apple’s latest generation of their cloud storage is called iCloud. Like Cloud Drive, Apple offers the first 5 GB of storage free, to owners who have an “i” device or a Mac, but storage needs beyond 5 GB are charged annually, to a maximum amount of 50 GB. Google Drive has followed the lead of its competitors by offering the first 5 GB free and charging for the amount of GB used thereafter. Google raises the bar by housing Google Docs, Google’s online office suite, within Google Drive. Microsoft’s SkyDrive competitively offers free storage to new clients, but does one better than the competition by setting the limit to 7 GB, then charging for incremental storage plans thereafter. Like Google, Microsoft offers subscribers the use of a web based version of the Microsoft Office suite, known as Microsoft Office Web Apps.
For mobile data storage, cloud storage appears to be a gift, that just keeps giving.
By Robin Berry