The Cloud , the cloud, what is the cloud?

It’s kinda new name for the Internet, but harder to sell “Storage your stuff on the Internet” but basically that what your doing. The cloud is virtual space on the Internet that your have control over. Let imagine this cloud for a moment, this is an service provider offering you services via the Internet using their servers in their datacentres. The cloud isn’t limited to storage but a wide range of other services too, like virtual desktop or remote applications.

Here’s how it works

You sign up to a cloud service provider, like dropbox for storage. They provide you which some lovely software that will synchronise your files to their servers in a datacentre securely. This is your little bit of cloud space sitting in a West London Datacentre, Rack D76, Server, cloud2210. You would hope they have some redundancy between servers for high availability, most do! Phew.  This is also true for Remote Applications and Virtual PCs, there a hypervisor (server with lots of virtual computers with Windows or Linux installed) a management interface and then a web portal, a little client maybe installed or integrated in your browser. This is true with Citrix.

Cloud Storage

This is a great idea and it has been around for a few years now. There are many companies offering free storage in the cloud, normally around 2GB and up to around 5GB depending how you use it.

The most common use is a place to storage your Pictures, Music and documents as a backup or to synchronise with other computers.  I couldn’t recommend this solution enough for those who have more that one computer and have trouble with versioning of documents. It’s also a great place to backup your important files or archiving. There are also cloud backups for businesses where backups could work, using a full backup and then only backing up the differences between the last. These cloud solution most likely use de-duplications (block level backups) to reduce the size on disk by up to 90%. But for small businesses and personal users cloud storage is a good idea.


Most service providers are reliable, but as with anything don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, If you upload all your photos, make sure you have a local copy. You never know if the data will get deleted due late payments or companies in administration.


Which One?

I’ve been looking at the pros and cons of cloud storage with some of the main vendors.
Dropbox, Amazon Cloud, iCloud and Google Drive all offer us somewhere safe to keep our files and I’ve been using them all.

Amazon Cloud: The Amazon cloud is the cheapest of the 4 providers and includes a client to upload your files to your personal cloud storage. It has integration with Android so you can save photos directly to the cloud. The Interface is all browser based and doesn’t synchronise with your other computers but does allow you to view your photos and stream your on your Android and iPhone.

Update 29th April 2013: Now Syncs with other PCs and android devices, making this an attractive service compared to others. 

Price Per Year: 20GB £6, 50GB £16, 100GB £32

Pros: 5GB of Free Space, Streaming your Music, Cheap hosting.

 Cons: No support for cloud drive on iPhone.


DropBox:  A simple idea you have a folder and everything in the folder is synchronised with other computers and your cloud drive. This is great if you work on documents at home or work or even on your tablet. You know your working on the latest version. Dropbox Integrates with your iPhone or Android device so you can upload documents and photos or work on existing ones in the cloud. It automatically synchronises your photos on your mobile, but you can also restrict what items or folders. It does only could with  2GB for storage, but you can earn upto 5GB by uploading photos, installing software on smartphone etc, Overall excellent service.

Price Per Year: 100GB $99 (£65) 200GB $199 (£135) and 500GB $499 (£335)

Pros: Syncs with all your PCS, Phones & Tablets, Upto 5GB for free storage

Cons: Limited packages, expensive

Google Drive: Google entered cloud space market offering good value for money storage, it uses the same idea as dropbox and synchronised your data between computers, smartphones and devices. You can share you data with others and this doesn’t automatically sync you photos.  Google offers a great no nonsense cloud drive that you can synchronise between PCs and access from anyway.

Price Per Year:  25GB £20, 100GB £37, 400GB £160

Pros:  5GB Free Storage, Syncs with all your PCs, Share and upload on your iPhone & Android. Up to 16TB!

Cons: I cant think of any yet..


iCloud: lets just say if you have an iPhone 4+ or Ipad it synchronises your data between your device and your home computer. A great service for iPhone and IPad users, it also integrates with Outlook for calanders, tasks and contacts, keeping them upto wherever you go.

Price Per Year: 10GB £14, 20GB £28, 50GB £70

Pros: Great Intergration features for iOS users

Cons: Expenivse, Not for Android or PC users unless you have an  iOS device