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  1. #1
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    External hard drives take on cloud storage




    BEST HARDWARE

    External hard drives take on cloud storage

    By Michael Lasky

    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..

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/best-hardware/external-hard-drives-take-on-cloud-storage/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    What is the difference in these "local cloud" devices from Network Attached Storage (NAS), which has been around for years? Many NAS devices have internet access capability.

  3. #3
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    after reading this article i bought a My Cloud drive, thinking it would make a good alternative to Dropbox -- but i was sorely disappointed. one of the things i really like about Dropbox is that you can easily share files by simply creating a link and sending that link to someone, who can then just click on the link and immediately see the files within their browser. it's an incredibly easy way to share files with other users, particularly people who are not all that computer literate. but you can't do that with My Cloud. in order to share files, the user must install a windows application, which then allows them windows explorer type access to what you have on your My Cloud drive. plus, you also have to set them up with a user ID and password. and even after all that, they still can't stream video apps like you can with Dropbox. so it's really not even in the same ballpark as Dropbox when it comes to file sharing.

    now to be fair, i should note that they do have smart phone apps which actually work quite well. you still have to sign in, but from there you can easily access the files, and the app also supports streaming. so sharing files via smartphone does match up with the functionality of Dropbox -- but alas, i'm an old f*rt, and i and most of my friends are still pretty much desktop-centric.

    also, there's the obvious problem that when you use My Cloud for backup, what you get is really not an off-site backup, which is the whole idea behind backing up to the cloud. so there's no real advantage there either.

    bottom line, functionally this drive really isn't all that different than your standard NAS drive, as @movershakr points out. in fact, you can pretty much accomplish most of what it does with just an external USB drive for that matter -- and much simpler and cheaper.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by movrshakr View Post
    What is the difference in these "local cloud" devices from Network Attached Storage (NAS), which has been around for years? Many NAS devices have internet access capability.
    My guess as to the difference between these "local cloud" devices and the old-fashioned Network Attached Storage is that the "local cloud" ones have a "cloud" emphasis, whereas the previous NAS technologies don't have the "cloud" emphasis. In other words, the new ones are oriented to cloud functionality out of the box.

    But the fact that you have the cloud "server" on your local network means that you have total control over it, and that you don't have to pay someone else any monthly fees.

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    I think home cloud services vary a lot probably. All I have to do is email a link and whomever is in. The problem then is that the share is subject to my creepy slow upload speed; I can stream Skype and that's about it. So a copy of anything stored IN the cloud wins in that respect but not in storage capacity.

    I really like the external drive yet off site storage possibilities provided by GBridge. Again, not a service for streaming but I think I'm up to about 3 TB of off site storage now and the only cost is two 2TB external drives...and a close family member or friend within reasonable driving distance with Internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    All I have to do is email a link and whomever is in.
    BUT whomever must have GBridge installed, right? if so, that makes it functionally equivalent to the My Cloud drive.

  7. #7
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    Yes there has to be a PC running GBridge that the drives are attached to. The advantage is unlimited (within reason of course) off site backup that can be used as a cloud service. However some cloud drives also offer a limited amount of free online storage that would make streaming or faster downloads possible; as far as I know GBridge is not integrated in any way with Google Drive. Also, when it goes offline one has to send an email, hey, when you get a chance check on the GBridge computer because the storage drives aren't showing up. Always a false alarm so far but someday it'll be a dead drive I'm sure.
    Last edited by F.U.N. downtown; 2013-10-23 at 23:43.

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    for free offsite backup i've been using CrashPlan -- functions pretty much like Mozy, but you can backup to any internet-connected computer. so if you've got a friend who is willing to host an external drive for you and has the bandwidth to spare, you can just back up to their location. sounds like it has the same functionality as GBridge.

  9. #9
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    Yes I think the do-it-yourself part of CrashPlan is very similar though I originally couldn't get it to work as easily as GBridge. Also I just understood the virtual private network adapter approach GBridge uses better.

  10. #10
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    GBridge does look interesting -- i'm definitely going to take a look at it. thanks for mentioning it here!

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