The Cloud, bye bye hard drive !

24 08 2012

Ok so, for quite some time now there has been a lot of chat about “The Cloud”.

By “The Cloud” we mean Cloud based computing and storage, but this can take many forms, some of which shown below in the image i exquisitely stole from Wikipedia.

Some people practically live on the Cloud, whilst others are sceptical, prefering storage on USB sticks, hard drives etc.

The new Google Chromebook is a great example of Cloud computing. This sits on the border between being a pure cloud client and a laptop. The Chromebook only has a 16GB hard drive. This, still could function as a computer but considering the standard iPhone is 16 GB, it doesnt give much room to play with presuming that some of this internal storage is also used for the Chrome OS data. There are limited offline capabilities but when connected to the internet , you essentially have unlimited storage and capabilities with access to the web store to purchase web apps to use programs such as Word and Excel and taking 8 seconds according to Google to boot up with a pretty instantaneous set up from the box.

There are a lot of Cloud applications floating about now (excuse the pun), with services such as Google Drive and Dropbox aswell as Apple’s iCloud service. I am registered for all of these and each have their own great features. My iPad is backed up to iCloud meaning that if the preverbial hits the fan on my laptop or the iPad, I can simply restore my settings from the cloud. Being an Android geek I also have Titanium Backup linked to my Dropbox and Google Drive account, this means all of my phone backups are stored on the cloud and even if my phone is completely wiped I can restore these apps from thin air!

Cloud applications are incredibly useful and are basically the future of University. The amount of times a student will walk into College or University only to be met with the fear after discovering their USB Stick with all of their work is still at home will be uncountable. Using Dropbox for example, files are uploading to this service at home using a mobile, laptop, iPad etc.. and when you are using any other computer,laptop etc you simply access Dropbox and then have access to your previously uploaded files, meaning files you uploaded at home are on the computer you are using in University with a simple log in to each of the Servers.

Now, getting to the sceptics.
A lot of folk will be sceptical purely due to their lack of control of their files. Of course files can be uploaded, downloaded and deleted at your request, but in the meantime.. What is happening with your files and where abouts are they? The answer to this question is fairly simple.. instead of using your own small DVD Sized Hard-Drive, you are probably using a Corridor filled with massive servers and hard drives in an industrial estate.

Now, although you may think your data may be easily compromised. These establishments are pretty well secured (most of them anyway) and have complete sevurity teams with access documented to the rooms and some of them are even pretty green and environmentally friendly in comparison with these types of centres of old.

Another reason most people seem to be sceptical is the reliability of these sort of services. Facebook rarely goes down, Twitter rarely goes down but it does happen and when it does the whole world knows about it. Although this wouldnt happen much, If it happens on an occasion where your stored data is integral to what you do, you would be pretty much screwed if you don’t have it there and then or when the service resumes crucial files may have became corrupt or deleted.

I sit very uncomfortably on the fence on this matter. I use Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and probably other services that aren’t at the forefront of my mind. I use these in addition to Solid Storage. I still have many USB sticks, a portable Hard Drive and a laptop with a substantial Hard Drive. These services, as far as I can see compliment each other. Having a plan B is never a bad thing so if you have the time or the resources to implement both I still see this is as the way forward in the near future.








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