Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So how about storage in the cloud?

Last month I talked about storage and the need to backup your work. It is critical that you save copies of papers, photos, and presentations. After the assignment is done, you may think that you don't need it anymore. You may be right, but you never know when you might want to refer back to this information for a future paper or project. These days, there is no reason not to save it. Digital storage is so inexpensive and accessible, you really should hang on to things.

Last month I talked about thumb or flash drives. These have gotten very inexpensive and are super portable. For large projects, like videos, a separate large hard drive may be worth the investment. If you are a film or music major, this may be a good idea.

These are good options, but how about cloud storage? You are just starting to here about cloud storage and cloud services. These are internet based services which enable you to access the storage or software, in some cases, from anywhere. Of course you need to be able to get to the internet, but once your stuff is stored there you don't need to worry about losing your thumb drive or have your hard drive die on you.

Here are some amazing, and free, services.

www.acrobat.com allows you to save up to 5GB of content for free. You create an account and save away. This service also includes a free collaborative word processing application and even allows you to video conference.

Yahoo has offered a small amount of free storage with their free email services for years. At briefcase.yahoo.com you can have 30MB of storage for free. This does not sound like much, but is convenient if you already use the yahoo email service.

Microsoft offers 25GB of free storage as a part of their Windows Live offering. This is huge. You just sign up at skydrive.live.com . You can store documents, music, videos at other things. The one downside is that each file uploaded cannot exceed 50MB. This is still very large unless you want to upload a movie.

If you need a super huge amount of storage, say 100-500GB, you can by it inexpensively from Google. You pay an annual fee.

The beauty of these options is that they maintain your content and they back it up. You need to get to the internet to retrieve it or storage more.

Most campuses limit your network storage to 100-300MB or less, so all of these options are pretty solid. Think about it.