Cloud Storage: A Wiser Alternative
Moore’s Law suggests that storage capacity will double every two years while prices will halve. As technology evolves, people are migrating from hard disks to cloud storage. Rahul Sharma and Naimish Keswani evaluate whether it is the right choice.
Did you know that the first external hard disk, made by Seagate in 1980, had only 5MB of storage? It was called the Seagate ST 506, was 5.25 inches long and was priced at a whooping USD 1500 (approx. Rs. 95,600.) Since then, technology has come a long way just like the predictions of the Moore’s law. Nowadays, hard disks are able to store data up to 8TB. They are convenient plug and play devices and are easy to use, even by people who may not be technologically sound. Over the years, cloud storage has come to the forefront with services like iCloud, Google Photo and One Drive. Photographers today will find it easier to create online backups. Cellphone photographers, too, can make backups through their phones instantly, even as they make images; whereas DSLR users need to transfer to a separate storage device before re-transferring to a cloud service. As far as various storage media go, hard drives offer the lower cost per MB. Today, most photographers still use physical hard drives more than online backups because the cloud is not popular. The question is—what would you choose?
Hard disks are delicate devices that should not be mishandled. They have to be used periodically to avoid demagnetisation, which can cause data loss. Moreover, they may get infected with viruses if they are used on a lot of different devices. Apart from that, physical theft also poses a major threat. On the other hand, cloud storage companies use multiple redundancy systems which ensure that they are not prone to the problems of the stand alone backup hard drive. They are susceptible to hacking but their system uses far more advanced and powerful tools to prevent that from happening.
Accessibility Across Platforms
If your data is lying in an unplugged external drive at home, you cannot access it remotely, regardless of where you are. Whereas with cloud storage, you can access and share data as long as you have internet connectivity. It can make life a lot easier for photojournalists, commercial and stock photographers and for anyone travelling extensively
Is it for You?
If you shoot data intensive, high resolution photos or videos with DSLRs, hard drives are a good option. On the other hand, if you shoot a lot with your cellphones or can make do with 16MP JPEGs, choose cloud storage. Yes, it needs connectivity to the internet and charges you for storing large images, but it is definitely more convenient in the long run.