By Bob Rankin
Online free storage is one of the greatest innovations to arise from the Internet. There’s no need to buy a bigger hard drive or burn stacks of CDs; just upload your photos, videos, documents, and other files to someone else’s storage space for free! Here’s the scoop on free online storage…
It sounds like a big hard drive in the sky, with gigabytes of free storage for all. Does that sound too good to be true? Well, it’s for real. Several companies offer free online file storage space. Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive and Google Docs are two popular online file storage services aimed at end users. For webmasters and software developers, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage and the new Google Storage are just a few sources of online storage space from well-known and trusted companies. How do they work?
It’s done with “cloud computing,” a vague term for using other people’s resources via the Internet to get your work done. Proponents of cloud computing say, “Don’t sweat the details, just think of the Internet as a nebulous ‘cloud’ of instantly-available resources that you can tap into at will.”
In the case of online storage, cloud computing means taking advantage of gigantic amounts of unused storage space that companies such as Microsoft and Google always have available. They connect their vast arrays of disk drive in a network, connect the networked drives to the Internet, and let random people store their stuff on the companies’ drives.
Some of these services even allow you to assign a drive letter to the online storage, so it behaves exactly like a local hard drive. That’s an important point, because it eliminates the hassle of uploading and downloading your files. Anything filed online in this manner can be accessed directly by the software or utilities installed on your computer. The only difference you may notice is that “disk” access is slower than reading or writing with a local drive. But if you have a fast internet connection, it could be hardly noticeable.