Thursday, April 20, 2006

Online Storage Solutions

I noticed an interesting post about Microsoft's plans for an online storage solution (on their Live platform naturally). Google's plans in this area are an open secret. I am glad to see the big companies getting stuck into this area as I have found the existing solutions to be cumbersome and unsuitable.

This is going to be a very important development for users like me with multiple devices in multiple locations. I currently have to rely on USB memory sticks, external hard disks, and file synchronization solutions. I quickly lose track of which file is the most up-to-date.

There are professional solutions to this problem (such as Sharepoint), but they require servers and other hassle-ware.

My requirements for online storage are simple:

  1. Look and behave as much like Explorer as possible (file info, drag-and-drop, cut-and-paste etc...).
  2. Be accessible from mobile devices (PDAs and Smartphones).
  3. Support optional transcoding of content to make it device or bandwidth appropriate. I am happy if this is read only rather than read / write.
  4. Have intelligent local caching of files to reduce latency. This requirement imposes certain transactional constraints (file locking for sessions on multiple machines for instance) that I am willing to accept - particularly as they represent a minority use case.

That is it. A modest set of functional requirements, but technically challenging. I don't care much for collaborative functionality (like you can get from Sharepoint), I don't care if it works best from a dedicated client (as long as there is a web page portal as well), and I don't really care if they search the content in order to better target advertising (which I ignore anyway).

These requirements are unapologetically Microsoft Windows centric, but I am happy if it supports other platforms as long as I don't have to use them.

1 comment:

sancho said...

Hi Rupert, try IBackup. It almost meets all the requirements you mentioned above.

IBackup for Windows has the look and feel of the Windows Explorer with some really powerful features to backup and restore your important data. The backups are secure with the highest level of 128-bit SSL encryption on transmission. IBackup performs incremental and compressed backups that do not take too much bandwidth.

With IDrivemap your online storage account as a local drive on the computer and then drag-n-drop, open, edit and save files in your online backup account. Another feature of IDrive is `intelligent caching’ which will update your local cache with the latest version of the data in IBackup, if modified by others in a collaborative environment.

ILite can access your data stored in IBackup accounts using handhelds like Blackberry, PocketPC and Treo.