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Every silver lining has a cloud

by  David Dwyer on  10/07/2014    3224 Reads

What happens if your FREE cloud based storage service closes?

It’s a problem we have whenever we buy anything: where on earth do we put it? To the surprise of many, the problem of storage hasn’t gone away in the digital age. All those songs and high-res photos have to be put somewhere, even if it’s in a digital library rather than a bricks-and-mortar one. 
In fact, the digital revolution may well have made our storage issues worse by making it easier to buy, sell and share content. We take more digital photos than we need and download music we don’t really like because a) it’s easy to do, b) the results don’t clutter up the hallway and c) it’s free.
And that’s the root of the problem. Over the past few years media companies have made it easy for us to squirrel away our digital junk in out-of-sight virtual lofts by offering everyone with a computer acres of free storage. You could fairly say we’ve been gorging ourselves on free storage – but sadly, the feast is over and it’s time for some belt-tightening.
Only recently media firm Canonical announced it was to exit the ‘free storage wars’ and shut down its Ubunto One file service (  ). In the face of stiff competition from paid-for cloud storage services like Dropbox and GoogleDrive, it simply wasn’t possible for them to continue to make the investments their free service required. Users now have about a month (until 31 July) to retrieve their content, a process that will take heavy users hours, if not days or weeks, to complete – assuming it’s even possible given the numbers involved and that your connection doesn't drop. After that, all remaining data will be cleared out and taken to the virtual tip. 
I shudder to think of the server-end chaos that will inevitably ensue as thousands of users put pressure on Ubunto One to download all those albums they never listen to as the clock ticks down. Even deciding what to keep and what to leave behind or move to a paid-for storage site will take an age. Faced with the choice of paying to store something or chucking it, one answer usually prevails – which leaves you wondering why you bothered collecting all this stuff in the first place.
They say you don’t get something for nothing, but in this case, maybe it’s more true to say you can also get more than you’ve paid for. With hundreds of megabites of free storage on offer, many people have been enjoying a handy place to stash some tunes and some memories; but they’ll also be getting a really big headache when the owners decide to pull the plug.


David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.


Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos

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