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How to get the best out of cloud storage
Gagandeep Singh Sapra
July 29, 2014
First Published: 11:22 IST(29/7/2014)
Last Updated: 11:30 IST(29/7/2014)

Cloud storage is easy but bandwidth-dependent. Hard disk drives are handy and safe. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.

Over the last few months, the term “cloud computing” has percolated to common parlance, but not everyone is still clear about what it means. Will one’s data get wiped out if there is a storm in these “clouds”? Which cloud up there in the sky has my data? Don’t laugh, these are real-life questions people ask.

So just to clarify, a “cloud server” basically means a remote network computer application, called the server, usually accessed through the Internet. That’s it. One of the earliest examples of a cloud server is Gmail, which lets you maintain quite a lot of data in your Gmail account – which is saved on its servers across the world.

The advantages are dual: for one, you can share content, be it photos or presentations or even movie files. Second, you can use a cloud storage space to back up your files, which you can then access on the move via Internet, and across devices. But the catch is also two-fold: one, you need a data plan. And the abysmally slow connectivity speeds make the whole experience extremely forgettable.

Let us look at a couple of solutions for saving and backing up content, using a mix of the physical disk and a network.

Crashplan
An external hard disk drive (HDD) is a great place to start your backup storage. With 500GB HDDs coming for as little as Rs. 3,500, the Rs. 7 per GB cost is so low that one should not think twice about it. But HDDs have their own problem – you need to remember to back up in the first place, for even a hard disk drive can crash.

This is where Crashplan comes in. Go to www.crashplan.com and download their free software (available both for Windows and Mac). Set up the program, defining what kind of files are backed up, how often, etc. If you buy the paid version, backup is done instantly, otherwise the maximum is daily. With the help of the software, the backup is done to the external HDD connected to your computer. But the programme also lets you take a backup of the backup on another computer, even a machine across the world.

Crashplan also offers you unlimited cloud storage space for an additional $60 per annum (Rs 3,600).

However, if you like speed, and can afford it, Seagate has a 4 Terrabyte solution — Backup Plus Fast (Mac and Windows), which costs Rs. 25,000, which is the fastest portable hard disk in the market.

Cloud storage is easy but bandwidth-dependent. Hard disk drives are handy and safe. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.

Over the last few months, the term “cloud computing” has percolated to common parlance, but not everyone is still clear about what it means. Will one’s data get wiped out if there is a storm in these “clouds”? Which cloud up there in the sky has my data? Don’t laugh, these are real-life questions people ask.

So just to clarify, a “cloud server” basically means a remote network computer application, called the server, usually accessed through the Internet. That’s it. One of the earliest examples of a cloud server is Gmail, which lets you maintain quite a lot of data in your Gmail account – which is saved on its servers across the world.

The advantages are dual: for one, you can share content, be it photos or presentations or even movie files. Second, you can use a cloud storage space to back up your files, which you can then access on the move via Internet, and across devices. But the catch is also two-fold: one, you need a data plan. And the abysmally slow connectivity speeds make the whole experience extremely forgettable.

Let us look at a couple of solutions for saving and backing up content, using a mix of the physical disk and a network.

Crashplan
An external hard disk drive (HDD) is a great place to start your backup storage. With 500GB HDDs coming for as little as Rs. 3,500, the Rs. 7 per GB cost is so low that one should not think twice about it. But HDDs have their own problem – you need to remember to back up in the first place, for even a hard disk drive can crash.

This is where Crashplan comes in. Go to www.crashplan.com and download their free software (available both for Windows and Mac). Set up the program, defining what kind of files are backed up, how often, etc. If you buy the paid version, backup is done instantly, otherwise the maximum is daily. With the help of the software, the backup is done to the external HDD connected to your computer. But the programme also lets you take a backup of the backup on another computer, even a machine across the world.

Crashplan also offers you unlimited cloud storage space for an additional $60 per annum (Rs 3,600).

However, if you like speed, and can afford it, Seagate has a 4 Terrabyte solution — Backup Plus Fast (Mac and Windows), which costs Rs. 25,000, which is the fastest portable hard disk in the market.

Network attached hard disks
(Seagate Central: 2TB @ Rs. 11,000; WD My Book Live: 1 TB @ Rs. 8,000)

What if you don’t want your content on the cloud (remote Internet server), but still want to access it from anywhere? That too without keeping your computer switched on? Can you build your own personal cloud?

You can. First, get a network-attached hard disk, such as Seagate Central or WD My Book Live. These connect to your home network over Ethernet (local area network technology). The advantage is that you can back up your computer from wherever you are in the house, and moreover, you can back up multiple computers to the same hard disk.

Seagate and WD both give you a utility to backup; alternately, you can use Crashplan as discussed earlier. Now for the personal loud. Your drive will need to remain powered on, but HDDs consume little power anyway. And the Internet connection needs to be active. You can access the drive via web browser or the respective app, though it will add to your monthly bandwidth usage. The upside is that your data is secure within your own control, and not on a third-party site. And you can access it from anywhere.

Seagate has apps for Windows phones and Kindle, while WD is limited to Android and iOS users only.

You can also allow others to access the content, by sending them a link invite using the software. They can download files directly from your Network Attached Hard Disk Drive, just as they would from a remote cloud server.

Network-attached hard disks come in higher capacities with more features. Evaluate your needs to choose accordingly.
(Seagate Central: 2TB @ Rs. 11,000; WD My Book Live: 1 TB @ Rs. 8,000)

What if you don’t want your content on the cloud (remote Internet server), but still want to access it from anywhere? That too without keeping your computer switched on? Can you build your own personal cloud?

You can. First, get a network-attached hard disk, such as Seagate Central or WD My Book Live. These connect to your home network over Ethernet (local area network technology). The advantage is that you can back up your computer from wherever you are in the house, and moreover, you can back up multiple computers to the same hard disk.

Seagate and WD both give you a utility to backup; alternately, you can use Crashplan as discussed earlier. Now for the personal loud. Your drive will need to remain powered on, but HDDs consume little power anyway. And the Internet connection needs to be active. You can access the drive via web browser or the respective app, though it will add to your monthly bandwidth usage. The upside is that your data is secure within your own control, and not on a third-party site. And you can access it from anywhere.

Seagate has apps for Windows phones and Kindle, while WD is limited to Android and iOS users only.

You can also allow others to access the content, by sending them a link invite using the software. They can download files directly from your Network Attached Hard Disk Drive, just as they would from a remote cloud server.

Network-attached hard disks come in higher capacities with more features. Evaluate your needs to choose accordingly.


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