My first rule of computing is; “If you don’t have at least two copies of a file (the original and a backup) you may not have that file for long.” The second rule is; ” The best backup of your data is the one you have.” That said, a local (like to an external hard-drive) copy of you files is fine but what if the unthinkable happens (fire, flood, tornado or alien elevation) and everything in that location is destroyed. No more computer and no more backup. You really should have an off-site backup as well. You could mail DVDs to your mom everyday (This takes time and effort.) Rule three; “Automate or it wont get done.”
What does this topic have to do with “Cloud Computing”?
There are many services that store your files online. Also Share and access elsewhere online.
- Skydrive with Live Mesh or Skydrive Explorer – Skydrive is a service from Microsoft that gives you 25GB of storage online free. Skydrive Explorer is a program for Windows that makes Skydrive a virtual drive on your computer.
- Box.net is a service to store, access and share files online. You get 5GB free but you have to upload the file through a web interface. The Premium version for $9.99 per month you get 25 GB and the Pro version you get 500 GB and cost $15 per month. They have a great desktop folder syncing feature.
- Dropbox is a service that syncs a folder on your computer to the cloud and then to other computers. For Windows, Mac and Linux. You get 2 gigabytes free with an option to purchase up to 100GB although I believe it is a bit expensive. There are some great file-sharing features that make this a valuable tool. On my Linux laptop I keep all of my files in the Dropbox folder. The same folder is on my Windows desktop. It always has the same files as my laptop.
Many services do backups automatically and many store unlimited files all for a low price…
- Carbonite is a service that automatically backs up unlimited data on one computer for one low price. I was working late one night and in a sleepy fog I clicked a button that said it was ok to delete my data partition. With Carbonite I was able to get it back.
- Carbonite Pro is the business version that charges you per gigabyte of storage and has a control panel for the sys admin.
- Mozy is similar to Carbonite but they’ve gotten very expensive. They to have a business product. I’ve never used either of these products.
- Backblaze is also like Carbonite and Mozy. It is $5 less expensive than Carbonite. Again I have never used this product.
- CrashPlan is similar to the other products but with one major difference. You can also backup to a local computer or even a friend computer. The payed product gives you hard-drive space in the cloud to use as well. You can download and use the software to back up to other computers for free.
- Jungle Disk is really just a program to back-up to the Amazon S3 service or Rackspace. At least that’s how it use to be. Now they manage the service instead of Amazon billing you I think. Amazons prices are very reasonable. Rackspace is a little higher. For Windows, Macs and Linux.
- Gadinet is a program that maps cloud storage as virtual network dives on your Windows computer. It works with Skydive, Amazon S3, Google Docs and many more services.