Amazon Cloud Drive Impressions

The Amazon Cloud Drive offers unlimited storage to backup your files to the Amazon Cloud. A relatively new player in providing unlimited file storage for just 50 bucks a year, its practically a steal. So how does it perform? And does the service suit my needs well? Remember I am trying to find an inexpensive, if albeit inefficient way to back up my photos archive that I have slowly accumulated over the years, either through photography, or from the photos I took using my iPhone.

The Amazon Cloud Drive offers a very simple service to anyone who wishes to upload files, big and small to the Cloud. It has potential, but currently, I feel that the services offered are a little too simplistic and basic. Unlike more sophisticated offerings from Dropbox, Box, Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive, you simply use the web or app interface to upload your files to the Amazon Cloud Drive. No fuss, no gimmicks, it works as intended. However, there are several key features that are not present yet on the Amazon Cloud Drive, features that are already mainstays from the more mature platforms like Dropbox.

For one, there is no auto sync feature. You can download a third party software to manage your files from your computer to the Amazon Cloud Drive, but some of which would require additional fees for licensing and usage of said software.

Managing thousands of files using the simplistic web interface is a little too unwieldy. It does not have the more complex set of features and functions that would make file management from the Cloud a little more efficient. The Amazon Cloud Drive app is a very basic app, that only allows you to upload (or download) files to and from the Cloud. You cannot (yet) do any file management functions from the app. The app only functions 2 things; upload and download. The Cloud Drive is also unable to edit files like word documents, or excel sheets or powerpoint presentation. You can view photos you have uploaded, but for most other file formats, there is very little you can do from within the web interface itself.

However simple it is, the Amazon Cloud Drive, is strangely still my favourite, not just because of its low price point, but also the fact that its a simple, no gimmick Cloud service. Th upload speed to the Amazon Cloud Drive is by far the fastest and most reliable among the other services I have used, making uploading of large amounts of files relatively easy. I organise my thousands of photos into its various folders, making my entire photo collection neat and tidy. Such neat organisation makes it easy to export the same file structure and files within those folders to the Cloud. And because I rarely access or modify those photos that I have already archived, not being able to sync and update the files in the Cloud is not really a big issue, yet. Remember, I am primarily using the Amazon Cloud Drive to merely dump all my photos into a safe place. Yes, I have half a terabyte of photos to upload and it will take days over time, but eventually when it is finished, I simply have to upload any new photos I took and saved periodically, maintaining my file organisation that I have adopted for my older photos.

Will I stick to Amazon Cloud Drive main repository for all my photos? Maybe. I am still split on whether to invest in local storage solutions like NAS or DAS, or simply just go the way of the Cloud. Both has its pros and cons, which I need to constantly evaluate as I consider how I would like to store my photos. But for now, Amazon Cloud Drive is the most cost effective way to keep my photos safe. Until then, it might just be my solution of choice, until something better comes along.



Backup Conundrum

I have been reading a lot about NAS, DAS, cloud backup, cloud storage, RAID options and many many more. But still, I have yet to come up with the most cost effective solution and efficient solution to back up and archive my photos. First, there is always the traditional route of backing up my photos from an external hard drive and making periodic transfer every now and then. I am using a 2.5 inch portable hard drive as my main photo depository. Eventually that hard drive is going to be full and I would need a more future proof solution. The closest option based on my needs would be to invest in a NAS. But NAS requires an ethernet connection to the router that would then allow NAS access to a home network. I have tried the transfer speeds of files from the NAS to the network and onto my computer, and I am not liking the transfer speeds. I need something faster. Then there is DAS, or Direct Attached Storage, like the Drobo, WD My Book Duo, or Thunderbolt Duo. But those things costs a bomb! I don’t really want to invest so much money upfrontĀ just to backup my photos and eventually have a future proof solution to my storage needs. It’s just too expensive for my taste.

Recently, I have begun experimenting with cloud storage and backup solution. I tried crash plan and initially I liked it. It’s those set-it-once-forget-about-it kind of system. Unlimited storage space, (for a fee of course) but it allows you to periodically make backups to the cloud. While it may seem the most cost effective solution, backing up hundreds of gigabytes of data is going to take a tremendous amount of time! By my reckoning, based on the Crashplan’s estimates, it would take me more than 20 days of non-stop uploads to fully back up my entire photos collection. While it is cheap, its not efficient. Amazon Cloud Drive seems to upload photos slightly faster than Crashplan, but still doesn’t solve the slow transfer speeds. So what now? Do I really have to invest in a NAS or DAS?