Thursday, March 29, 2012

Zumo Drive is closing down: The dark side of the cloud.

Zumo Drive will soon be gone. What is next?

We have been using Cloud Storage since long before it was referred to as "the cloud". It is, and has been, convenient to have our data stored and available from any computer connected to the internet.

But Zumo Drive is the third "cloud" company we have used that has shut down. And it seems to me that this is the danger that exists for individuals and companies who grow to rely on a cloud based service. All things pass. And getting the data off the dying service onto a new service can be a bit of a chore.

Our first online storage experience was with MediaMax, which at the time we joined was owned by AOL. They were around about a year after we signed up.

Next came my all-time favorite of the cloud-type storage services, Bingodisk by Joyent. We heavily integrated images and other content stored on Bingodisk onto all of our web sites and even some client sites. When they shut down we spent weeks moving data and cleaning up links.  Bingodisk was a painful loss, but we rebounded somewhat with (now  Great service and they have grown significantly, but without the ability to directly link to content it was not an exact replacement for Bingodisk. They are still around and going strong (announcing Box OneCloud just yesterday, in fact).

Now Zumo Drive.  I am not sure we ever fully utilized all of the features on Zumo, but I really liked having a disk drive icon on my desktop into which I could drag items, and which worked a lot like a locally mounted drive. For my use, this is the type of offsite data service I prefer. And their Ninja logo, and the whole Ninja theme of their service, was great!

So what next?

We still use several cloud services and will continue to. It is too convenient not to use. My short list of consumer cloud providers contains nothing earth shattering. You may already be familiar with these services, but their mention here is absolutely an endorsement:

Dropbox - 2GB free, $99 per year for 50GB.  Data is stored in a folder on your machine, so if disk drive space is an issue this won't solve that problem, but it is great for keeping things synced between computers and mobile devices (and/or backups). - very cool, lots of available SaaS functionality ... but just a bit pricy and a bit more focused on business than the individual. Business plan is $15 per user per month for 1000GB. Individual paid plans are $9.99 per month for 25GB or $19.99 per month for 50 GB.  I still use the free 5GB plan. If you have an LG mobile device, you can get a free 50GB lifetime account if you sign in or up from that device before December.

SugarSync - only recently signed up for this service, but with the 5GB free account I was able to securely back up an entire project folder for one of our clients and still had space (backup took several hours but was done efficiently in the background without impact to my work). They are offering 1/2 off their prepaid yearly plan (normally starting at $50 per year for 30GB of storage, up to $399.99 for 500GB), and I am seriously considering jumping to a paid plan. Automatic backup as well as a place for archived files that you don't want on your computer any longer. My biggest concern is that I will become too dependent this service and that they will go away before we are ready for them to.

Amazon Cloud - you may be using this already if you are an Amazon MP3 or video user. I am a rabid Apple fan, but I think Amazon is doing the cloud right. Store it and stream it. Keep it off my device(s) until/unless I need it.  And, like Apple's iCloud, they don't count purchased content against your storage limit.

Speaking of Apple, what about iCloud?  Well. it's Apple and it's integrated into all of their iOS devices and it's free - so it's worth it if you have Apple products. But for generally cloud storage, I am not sure that is what Apple has in mind with the service.

So what do you think? Do you have a cloud service you are using that is not mentioned? Post a comment

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