The options for storing and archiving data have never been more numerous or diverse — or confusing.
Just when you thought that cloud storage was the next big thing, a new generation of external drives and wireless devices are adding Internet file sharing and support for mobile devices.
Storage for multiple digital devices
Once upon a time, archival storage for our data was relatively easy. You simply attached an external drive to your personal computer and set up backup software. Video and digital images greatly increased the amount of data we had to store and back up, but that was no real problem: with hard-drive capacity going up exponentially and prices plummeting, we simply bought a bigger external hard drive.
Then came cloud storage, and things became more complicated. Storing our data on a remote server is safer from hardware failure than on a local drive, but there are also those monthly fees and potentially slow access over the Internet.
Now it’s no longer the data on one or two PCs we have to archive, but images, music, videos, and so on, all kept on our growing number of mobile devices — smart phones, tablets, and hybrid laptop computers. We’re also sharing our data among these devices and with others as never before.
A Sept. 11 IDC report states:
“The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker expects tablet shipments to surpass total PC shipments (desktop plus portable PCs) in the fourth quarter of 2013. PC shipments are still expected to be greater than tablet shipments for the full year, but IDC forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015.”
Cloud services such as iCloud and Dropbox now support some mobile devices, but that still leaves the problem — or complications — of whether your data should be archived in the cloud or locally.