Cloud Storage


The Nuisance

Have you ever experienced a hard disk failure? Has your laptop or mobile phone ever been stolen with all of your files on it? How big was the damage this caused you? Did you shrug it off or did you feel devastated?

The problem with computers, amazing as they are, is that we have become too reliant on them. As much as they make our lives easier, if something fails, it could make it much worse. We store all of the things that are dear to us, our favorite movies, photos, documents and messages all on one PC that might fail at any second. Many of us never bother to back up because, face it, it is a tedious task.

A Hero Saves the Day

In 2007, computer engineer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate Drew Houston created “Dropbox”. He was frustrated that he frequently forgets his flash drive when going to college, and that online file hosting services suffered from many limitations at that time. He decided to develop software that would allow him to store his files online and access them anywhere with an Internet connection. At first, he made it for himself, but then decided that it could benefit others.

Dropbox is a very simple application. You create an account and download a program to your computer which creates your Dropbox folder. Anything you put in this folder will be immediately uploaded to the Internet. Should you not have access to your computer for any reason, you can just log in to the Dropbox website from anywhere and download your files. You can also synchronize your files across many devices such as your phone or another PC with Dropbox installed. You can share folders with other people whom you are collaborating with if they have the software. The possibilities are endless.

The Cloud

Having your files on “the Cloud” at any time can be very convenient. Dropbox is one of the first cloud storage platforms. See the following video to know what cloud storage is:

Until now we have explained how the user experiences Dropbox. What is more fascinating, however, is how Dropbox works from the inside. Dropbox is built on a cloud computing infrastructure. Instead of your data being in only one place on the Internet, meaning it can easily get lost or damaged, Dropbox does something known as “replication” where your file does not exist as one copy, but multiple copies. Dropbox has millions of data centers all over the world. Not even all of your files are stored in one place. You may have some files in Europe and others in Latin America.

Cloud storage solves many problems, yet, it poses some others. Would you trust a company and keep all your files with them? Are you afraid of hacking or losing your password? All in all, in my opinion, the risk is low and is worth it, if we compare it to the revolutionary storage service it provides.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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