Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What is "Cloud" storage?

Yesterday we had a number of article put up about the excellent "Box" app that is available on a number of mobile phones. "Box" and "Dropbox" are both forms of "Cloud storage" which for those who aren't too technologically advanced is the future of storage and the next step on from needing physical storage systems such as USB memory sticks.

In the past if you wanted to work on a document in 2 places you either had to send your the file as an e-mail or you had to have it on some form of physical storage (such as Floppy Disk, CD Rom's, DVD's and USB memory drives) with Cloud however there is now no need for a physical version of the documents to have the file wherever you are. Cloud storage systems instead see you storing the document "in the cloud" or online in a personal online storage system that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. You can access your own storage space anywhere simply by logging into your own account much like you would with your e-mail account and as a result the files are very easy to access.

Cloud storage was originally used primarily by business customer who had staff working both at home and in the office however as the services have become more affordable and easier to use they've started to be used by more and more personal customers who would like to access their files where ever they are. Thanks to apps like "Box" and "Dropbox" we can now have our files anywhere we want due to the fact they are Cloud storage systems.

Just as a little example, I could have my free "Box" account (5GB) filled with my music tracks from my home computer down here in Manchester. I could then visit my cousin in Glasgow and using his computer have access to my entire 5GB of music and play it on his computer or at my mother's in London. I could also access it via my smartphone on the Train and again play the songs as I move.

The Cloud systems also have other features however and those features allow us to get even more from the services. One of the key uses is to allow you to share your things with friends, for example you can share home videos or party pictures with friends over Cloud by having open/public folders. You can also take a file from a friends public folder, read it and correct the spelling mistakes before saving the corrected version for them to print off.

In simple terms "Cloud storage" is the future ...that's here today.

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