Top Free Online Storage Solutions

January 24, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Disaster can strike, anywhere, anytime. Big corporations have the advantage of remote storage solutions, often involving a company contracted to manage the collection and return of backup tapes for storage off-site.

But what do you have?

Most users don’t have any backup solutions, and those that do save to another hard disk partition or to optical media stored in a draw. In the event of an earthquake or devastating fire, these backups could be lost in minutes.

Therefore, remote storage of your vital files is required. Traditionally this was an expensive arrangement to make but with the advent of cloud computing it has become more popular, with big names and small all vying to host your data backups in their online storage.

Top free online storage solutions

Why Is it So Cheap?

As the cost of computer hardware decreases, so storage becomes more affordable. This is all part of the natural development cycle of computing, and can be explained in the terms of Moore’s Law, which basically states that:

The density of transistors that can be placed on a single microchip will double every 18 months.

(Gordon Moore was a founding member of Intel, and had spent considerable effort on analysing the development of the company’s early processors. The law can also be applied to computer graphics and hard disk space.)

Basically we are now at the stage where production costs for storage are so low and storage itself has such high capacity that there are vast banks of servers sat waiting for data to be saved to them.

Top Free Online Backup Solutions

Many of the big names in computing are getting involved in remote storage, encouraging users to save their data “to the cloud”. Most prominent among these are Microsoft, who provide a massive 25GB of storage free to Windows Live account holders. This can either be accessed directly via the browser or you can use Windows Live Mesh to arrange a sync of your favourite files and folders (although only 5GB of storage can be used in this way).

Similarly, although there is no easy way to upload data from your computer, Google provide huge amounts of email storage and the Google Docs web applications allow you to save your documents to the web.

You can access this storage as a sort of network drive using the Gmail Drive tool, although continued use of this isn’t guaranteed – once Google decide too many people are using it, they may decide to block access to it.

If you’re not keen on linking your online storage with either of these services, many ISPs now offer space in the cloud for their subscribers to upload data to. However don’t forget about it – changing ISPs is a common activity, and you might leave you data behind to be deleted.

Finally, Apple users have access to the iDisk which comes with their purchase of a new Mac computer. Although designed mainly for access from an iMac or MacBook, the iDisk can also be reached by Windows 7 users with a bit of help from a useful Windows Update.

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