Sync your files in the cloud and amongst computers. Back up!

October 2, 2009

Few days ago I wrote backblaze and about dropbox.

I am intrigued by which could be the best way to be synchronized and to backup in the cloud.

Well, after reading a lot of reviews I tried dropbox and I have to say that it is the best product out there…. now….

I continued my research:

I learnt that there are other good player outhere:

SugarSync, Microsoft Live Sync, Microsoft Mesh and Microsoft SkyDrive, and of course idisk from apple.

I tested them all.

Dropbox

Dropbox gives you 2Gb of free space. You can share folders with other users and the space is taken from everyone’s account (which makes sense as otherwise you could link several accounts). The beauty is the simplicity, that runs on mac, windows and linux, that all the files are locally stored and at the same time stored in the cloud. That in the cloud you have versions of these files, meaning that you can revert to a previous word document for instance, without the changes someone did or you did.

Now, 2Gb is not a lot. For $9.99 a month you could get 50Gb.

Microsoft mess of products (all free):

Sync: Sync (previously known as foldershare) is a peer to peer solution, so basically no limits on size. You select the folders you want to sync and if the two (at least) computers are on, then you forget, you keep the files in your office computer sync with your laptop or at home. Pretty easy. Very cool. The downside is that the files are not in the cloud, so you cannot access them via a web browser, and that if you don’t have the two (at least) computers on, they don’t synchronize. If you have a computer which is always on, then this is a very good solution.

Mesh: Mesh is like dropbox. They give you 5Gb free, which is better than dropbox. The idea is that you link as many computers to this mesh and you share files, which are also accessible via a website. The plus is that from the web, if they are on, you can take control via sort of remote desktop. Pretty cool. The downside: No file history. Not as neat as dropbox. Dropbox is the easiest thing in earth.

SkyDrive: Skydrive is big. They give you…. 25Gb free!!! It is no sync tool It is just space in the cloud for your files. You can share with live users, or public, it is very good!. The first thing I asked myself was how to map it as a network drive. The solution: with gladinet. It is free and then I discover that you can map webdavs, google docs, very nice tool. Not a substitute of dropbox because it does not keep a local copy.

SugarSync

SugarSync is in some sites rated as the best. I don’t think so. Its more complicated to use than dropbox. For me the least appealing of all these tools. I removed it after 2 days, but don’t get me wrong, it is good, you get 2Gb free or for $9.99 60Gb. Better than dropbox. The plus is that you can use it in a lot of devices (blackberry, iPhone, etc…)

Conclusion

If I have to choose one is dropbox. But depends on your needs. If you want to keep two computers synchronized then sync, if you want to share a lot of files skydrive. Mesh is cool to access remotely computers. Soon macs.

The last (but not the least) would be idisk from mobile me. I have a mac at home and I use mobileme to sync with my iphone. I managed to map it on my windows laptop as a network drive. Good, but only if you are online, like my other homemade solution that is the one I use mostly: webdav. I have webdav in my servers and I use netdrive (a little free novel program) which allows me to map webdav directores to letters in my windows, and that allows me to have a local mirror. I would look like the winner here, but… no so cool as dropbox, though I have as much space as my secondary  hardrive in my server (1Tb+1Tb in raid mirror)….  I wish someone released the open code for dropbox and I could install it in my server!

But none of these resolves my problem of massive external (offsite) backup.

I have tons of photos, and I would like to have an offsite backup. Backblaze is a tool that costs only $5 month and gives you unlimited backup, but I heard that some people is not very happy, about speeds, about the impossibility to select the folders you want to sync, only thouse you don’t… I might consider giving it a try. I might buy a NAS to my mum and sync it…

Other online photo services provide unlimited space for a reasonable, like smugmug which is very good looking and professional, but if you read carefully you cannot upload RAW files in the “unlimited” only jpgs and so.

Another that I use to upload photos for my iphone, that I have also reviewed is expono. Now offers unlimited for a reasonable price too, but is more a social photo sharing site than a professional site to upload your photos.

Another that I heard is carbonite, Nothing to comment there. It costs around $55 a year for unlimited space. A pretty well established company. I heard of it thanks to Leo Laporte and TWIT, but I cannot comment.

I think I might buy a NAS to my mum and schedule backups at night. The most cost-effective solution.

If you want to read a good article on Cloud storage (Carbonite, BackBlaze, etc… ) go to this link:

http://www.macworld.com/article/142606/2009/09/online_backup.html

2 comments

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