I am aware of the fact that a large number of my readers don't know much about cloud storage –let alone ever using it! As far as my experience goes, most people in India still give information technology services a doubtful look and they still feel more comfortable with the traditional tools of information management (paper and pen being the most important of these tools). But slowly IT is making itself an indispensable aspect of common person’s life in India. You may call it peer-pressure or it may just be the case that people are left with no other options –the acceptability of IT services like usage of net banking, PayPal and credit cards is on the rise.
If people are so suspicious of basic IT services, it does not come to me as a surprise that most people do not use what is known as cloud storage. So, I decided to write about this stuff in hope that my readers will not only become cloud-literate but also might consider using it.
Traditionally, we have been storing our data (aka files) in our local computers. Whenever, we needed to transfer data from one computer to another –we would make use of floppy disk, CD-ROM, pen drive etc. More tech-savvy folks will use methods like transfer via network drive, cable, infrared port or Bluetooth.
With the advent of internet and email, some people realized that they can make use of emails to store their most important documents and then access them whenever and wherever needed. As this trend began to grow –corporate establishment saw business opportunities in this area. Thus came the web services that allowed file storage facilities (remember Yahoo! Briefcase?)… You could create your account on these websites, upload files and download them when needed. As the cost of storage came down with time –the amount of free space provided by these services began to increase. Google was the first one to launch email with the unlimited storage capacity.
Soon, people became comfortable with the idea of storing their files elsewhere (i.e. on email servers and the servers of file storage facilities). And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is cloud storage!
In the IT terminology, the term cloud refers to a cluster of computers to which you can connect and do stuff with the help of cluster’s computing power. The computers in a cloud are connected with each other and behave like a single very powerful computer. The overall configuration of the connected computers is decided depending upon what the cloud is supposed to do. If the cloud is supposed to do a lot of computing work –cloud machines are equipped with powerful processors. Such a cloud can perform a job in seconds which your desktop computer could have taken hours to do.
The clouds that are meant for providing data storage facilities have hard-disks with massive capacities. Computers in such a cloud are equipped with software that manages files stored in cloud.
As we are becoming more and more dependent on computers for our daily work, and as most of our data is getting stored in digital files –nowadays people are facing the big problem of synchronization. Let me explain by an example.
Let’s assume you are writing a book using MS-Word. You have already written 50 pages. To make your file safe –you attach the file with an email and send it to yourself. Then you continue writing your book and add 10 more pages to the file on your laptop. Also, you make several alteration in the previous 50 pages.
Now, one fine day you happen to be in a situation when you don't have your laptop with you but you need to show the file to a potential publisher. What would you do? Well, you might use publisher’s office computer to get the file from your email. But the downloaded file will have only 50 pages and that too of old version.
Wouldn’t it have been great if you could download the latest file from Internet.
That is exactly why you should give cloud storage a try!
Nowadays, there are cloud storage available that automatically sync files on your local computer, mobile phone, iPad and what not. Anywhere in the world, you can access your file from the cloud and you will always get the latest version of the file.
In my next article, I will talk about a few cloud storage facilities that you can use free of cost! Stay tuned.