Monday, August 8, 2011

Cloud Backup

These days, everything is going to "the Cloud". The Cloud is a conceptual framework of network-connected computer storage, accessible to anyone from any location, as long as a network connection exists.

Apple recently came out with their iCloud product, a subscription service that is the latest iteration of their internet service which first was called dot-mac, then renamed to mobileMe. ICloud is intended to be a shared storage space for your MacBook computer, your iPad and iPod, and your iPhone. It will, Apple hopes, be able to unify several devices and their data for instant synching everywhere.

It isn't as if iCloud is the only cloud-based service. Amazon has its own Cloud Player and storage app for Android phones, and Google already has free web-based apps and storage. Carbonite, the backup company, has a system which backs up your computer to the Cloud, and allows for access to all of your computer's files from any internet connection. Verizon offers a cloud-based storage solution for their customers. There are other cloud services out there, as well.

When you start using Cloud services, you will have to create accounts, and probably also pay a monthly fee for access. Some services will provide storage space for no cost up to a certain quantity, then charge for a larger storage space. If you want to change cell phone or internet providers, you will often be required to migrate your data to another cloud. It will be very confusing for some, and the difficulty involved in changing services will be a real deterrent to ever changing.

Another likely scenario will emerge where users will have multiple cloud accounts across several different services. In fact, it is more than likely that people will establish their cloud storage accounts, then after a year or two may have three or more cloud storage locations at the same time. Married couples and families will have multiple storage accounts for each member. The number of cloud accounts will explode.

The ability to manage cloud storage services will become very complicated. The idea here is to create a device, which will be a Network Attached Storage device, which will automatically log in to all of your and your families cloud accounts, and make a backup of all of them on a local media. It could be called a Rain device, or a Snow device, or Precipitation device. Neat, huh? It would be made possible by creating a program in a ROM in a NAS device. In fact, it could be a program in a future upgrade of an existing NAS device, like Netgear or Linksys make. It would store the login name and the user's passwords in memory, along with the URL of the cloud resources. The whole thing would connect to your internet at home. It could also be used as a local storage device, as space allows.

It would log into the cloud, scan the file structure, and make a list of all of the files stored therein. Then, it would create a hierarchical file structure that is identical to your cloud service, and copy every file that it finds in there. Subsequently, it could react to duplicate files by comparing them and only copying them if they are different, and possibly based on a date or time stamp.

This is one idea which I expect to see in use very soon. I haven't heard of anyone doing it yet, so I want to be sure it is recorded here, in the cloud, for posterity, and also so I can show people later on when somebody patents it and makes a million bucks. If you read this, and you do make a million bucks, kindly remember me, and kick me down a little. Ten percent is all I ask.

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