So recently I’ve come to find that I need a single point for files to work on, not necessarily collaborate on, but at least have a single point that I can dump data out to and feel confident that I’ll be able to access it from where ever I am.
Right off the bat of course I think to myself, I can just setup my Dell Dimension 8300 at home to act as a document library leveraging Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0 on top of a Windows Server 2003 platform. Nice option, but the only problem is that occasionally my roommates inadvertently down our network. Now that’s not to say that a third party service provider might not have the same problem, but more than likely they’re co-located and have their operation together with 24×7 support of some sort (someone carries a pager at least eh?)
Microsoft Live SkyDrive is currently in beta and supports up to 500 MB. Looks to have some decent integration with MSIE 7.0 (sorry, I don’t have any machines still running 6.0). It seems to be pretty snappy and have the Web 2.0 kind of feel to it as you’re able to get a little bit of asynchronous action going on here and there. Not quite sure what the pricing scheme is going to be, but I think that there are some blogs out there that have mentioned what it’s going to be. Overall, not too shabby for a Microsoft product and it seems to have integration across the field through the Live product suite.
GSpace and GMail Drive Extension
So in reality, this isn’t really Google having any sort of storage offering, yet, but rather a Mozilla FireFox plugin that allows you to use your mailbox like a file cabinet. It seems to be relatively snappy, nothing crazy fast, but remember that in a way you’re voiding your warranty on your gMail account (user be warned). Now if you’re interested in something that will integrate with your Windows Explorer interface, I would then recommend you to the GMail Drive shell extension which is useful, but again it’s got its own set of issues and you’re attempting to make your gMail account more than what it was initially set out to be for.
There is some talk however that there will be a Google storage offering coming soon with the ability to pay for additional server space. The folks over at Google Operating System (unofficial news and tips from Google) have an article from August 9 detailing the cost structuring of Google Services. Quite interesting if you want to move all your photos over to the Google side of things with Picasa Web and have a storage quota that goes across all of your Google Services (notebook, docs and spreadsheets, reader, mail, etc.) all wrapped up into a single service fee.
S3 from Amazon
The Amazon Simple Storage Service is a pretty sweet service provider that’s snappy, redundant and cheap. The only problem is that Amazon doesn’t provide an interface to it other than leveraging the web services API that it comes with. So what’s that mean to the average user? They’re more than likely never going to step foot on the moon, no wait, they’re never going to use S3 which is tragic. There are several tools out there that will do everything from synchronize your data folder to and from S3 to just a plain interface through the a Mozilla Firefox Plugin named Amazon S3 Firefox Organizer or S3Fox for short.
It seems to work for the most part and is slick and consolidated and blends in with the interface of Firefox, but doesn’t seem to have the greatest error reporting. The best part of it however is that it’s free.
So which service are you going to go with for your file storage needs? Should I even bring up AOL XDrive? Right now I’m leaning toward leveraging the S3 service, however I have to admit that the SkyDrive interface is pretty nice and allows for a simple permissions model. Likewise the Google system though it works through your mailbox right now, I’m sure that they’ll deploy something out there soon that is cross platform compatible, fast and cheap as well, just a matter of time.
Listening to Antonin Dvorak – Dvorak Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9 – Symphony No. 9 Iii. Scherzo. Molto Vivace