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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    TOP STORY

    SkyDrive takes on the online-storage arena


    By Michael Lasky

    Office 2010 marked Microsoft's aggressive entrance into the cloud-computing arena, and Sky Drive is a key component of the company's move to online services.

    Part of the new Windows Live service, SkyDrive offers generous — and free — online data storage and simple collaboration. But there are other cloud-based services that provide more features and better options.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/06/24/01 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 15:42.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    I've used Skydrive for a couple years and it is very handy for sharing files too big to e-mail, but I regularly bump into the 50MB per single file limitation. I was trying to share a home movie a couple weeks ago to the family but no dice--that 50 meg limit bit me.

    The article also talks about online backup. For the life of me, I can't see how it will be a reasonable consumer solution for several years. In my case, I don't need 2 GB, I need more like 600 GB. And making it worse, while I have a killer download rate that can reach 30Mb/s at times, Roadrunner throttles uploads to 0.5 Mb/s so it would take four months at 24 hrs/day to complete just one backup. Which is insane.

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Well, after the third "but I had problems - it does not work yet - out soon - needs to be polished" I stopped reading. What a M$ "advertisement".
    If it does not work completely as advertised it's "mee too" hot air! Haven't we seen that many, many times from M$?
    I am sort of puzzled that Windows Secrets even writes about an apparently immature product. And what the h**k is bad about a "spartan" interface that just works?
    Eike J Heinze
    What I am about
    SE Wisconsin

  4. #4
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    I was a Mozy customer for approximately 2 years. I was relocating to the east coast from Nevada and decided to verify the status of my so called backed up files. To make a long story short, Mozy showed my files as being backed up but when I attempted to dowload the files, Mozy could NOT locate my account. They had all my information but no files were backed up for the entire time I "thought" (and paid for) back-up. Advice - after setting accounts with ANY service - verify that files are available. I am currently a Carbonite customer and more than happy with company and results.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Betona, I have about 1.5TB of data in the form of images and agree about the upload speed issue. As long as ISPs throttle the data rate this will be a major restriction to seriously using any of the services as provided.

    I'm surprised none of the storage providers allow you to send them a hard drive with files that can be offloaded locally into their environment. Later, files could be synced with a much smaller transfer of data.

    It sounds like EMC's software might be well suited to this approach by allowing the user to initially create two backups locally. One of these could then be sent to them for offloading into their cloud. I would be willing to pay for the extra service.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Thanks for the helpful comparison. There are two things that you didn't mention:

    1. SkyDrive will allow the upload of a file no larger than 50mb each.

    2. There's another online backup available -- Carbonite.com. It's similar to Mozy, but with some differences. The price is slightly lower than Mozy, includes unlimited size backup and performs in the background.

    There are most surely other online backup available if we do a search, but they may not be widely known, so I would be careful with those.

    Thanks........Alex

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    I'm in my second year of subscription to Syncplicity, with a paid subscription for 100 GB. Although it took me a while to figure it out, the automatic synchronization and backup of various laptops and desktops has been seamless. It also saves multiple versions of saved files; this recently saved me hours of rework when I accidentally replaced one file with a different file using the same name. They seem to have excellent security to boot. The price I paid for that 100 GB seems less than what was reported in this article on a $/GB basis.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    You didn't mention Mesh, another Microsoft online storage, sync, and collaboration tool. Mesh requires a Windows Live account and provides 5GB of free storage. You download a small client to each machine you want in your Mesh and then designate the folders you want to be stored there. As you add the folders to other computers, any updating of the files is automatically synchronized to every machine, as long as you have an internet connection. Clients are currently available for Windows, Windows Mobile, and a Mac beta. You can share files with others and give them different permissions. Mesh also gives the ability to remote desktop into any computers that are in your Mesh (tech support for friends?). I currently use it to keep important files synchronized between my work and home machine, and I use it to collaborate with some tech friends in New Jersey and Utah. We create tech presentations for a yearly conference and can easily share documents with Mesh.
    The web site is: www.mesh.com

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    I use Microsoft's Live Mesh. I've used it for what seems like a few years now (how can it still be in beta and so secret?) Anyway, you get 5gb free and the ability to "Sync, share, and access the information you care about—wherever you happen to be" It also gives you a virtual desktop along with the ability to remotely connect (like logmein) with any machine in your Mesh (if permitted).

  10. #10
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    One other major problem for typical home use with cloud storage, besides the upload throttling by most major ISP's. At least with Comcast, you're limited to 250GB of TOTAL data usage per month. Anyone who's had a digital camera (especially a newer digital SLR) can easily have this many pictures. If your local storage fails, it could take months to re-download your stuff, just because you can only get 250GB of it per month before you're in violation of your ISP's terms of service, and that's assuming you do absolutely nothing else on the internet that month.

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    A Drive is an excellent service with 50GB free storage and 2GM max upload per file. They also have reasonably priced value- added services. This one should be reviewed.

  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    I've used IDrive (and a variation for business - IBackup Pro) for several years. I've always been able to recover any data I needed, it stores 30 versions of changed files, can backup remote file systems, and at 50GB for $9.95/month, is easily affordable for my needs. There really are a lot of on-line backup solutions out there, but a few seem to get most of the attention.

  13. #13
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    I think that (for now) online backup & related technologies trade off instant accessibility and ease of use for size. At the moment, I have three backup solutions: I back up images & data locally onto a separate disk, I back up data onto one of 2 Passport drives that I exchange with a friend every month (alternating drives), and I use SugarSync, which I haven't seen mentioned. SugarSync synchronizes between computers, but as part of its service it backs up data as well.

    If anyone asks you why the US needs to get its broadband act together and catch up to the rest of the civilized world, this is a use-case that is being hobbled. What sort of online backup would I like from Microsoft? I would like an online list of programs to which I have licenses on each computer, and links to the corresponding versions of that software. (Android does something like this, and it's great.) That way, if I have to reinstall, I can download, install, and activate the corresponding software. Microsoft controls the OS, so it could keep it secure. As for online data & collaboration, I don't really see the point of Microsoft competing, except just to say "me too."

  14. #14
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    The SkyDrive that Microsoft offers requires that anyone accessing the drive (shared) sign up for a LIVE account. It's not a very convenient way of sharing, especially if the people you want to share with are not comfortable computer users. Signing up for a Live account routes the user into all sorts of Live-related pages.

    I use Carbonite and like it. My only gripe is that Carbonite "support" takes 2-3 days to reply to email inquiries. When I was having problems with a recovery, this was scary.

    Somebody needs to invent an automatic and online backup that includes application software. I use Acronis Home, but it is by no means automatic.

    Thanks for the good article!

    Dave
    Dave

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Speaks View Post
    I'm surprised none of the storage providers allow you to send them a hard drive with files that can be offloaded locally into their environment. Later, files could be synced with a much smaller transfer of data.
    I'm sure I saw this feature when I researched the online backup suppliers, but I can't remember which one of them gives this service.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Kramer View Post
    I've used IDrive ...
    I also vote for IDrive, I chose it after doing a lot of testing and his service is great.

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