Posted by: drmiw | July 16, 2009

Dropbox – cloud computing at its simplest and best

I’ve been using Dropbox for four or five months now and I think it’s great as it is, but it’s going to get even better, I found out yesterday.

What is Dropbox and why is it so great?

On the Dropbox website you can create a user account and download a small client for your computer, whether it’s running Windows, MacOS or Linux. This client creates a folder on your file system under which you can save files, and these files are automatically and securely backed up to the cloud via Amazon’s Simple Storage Service(S3). If you log on to the dropbox website you can browse through your files, and restore old versions of files or deleted files – your ‘undo history’.

If you install the Dropbox client on any other computer and sign in with your user account then it downloads any new or changed files from S3, and any changes you make get saved back to S3 (it only uploads binary changes so it’s pretty efficient as well). So you can have your favourite files synchronised between multiple computers; and you can share files with other dropbox users, too, or even provide public web links.

It’s just so easy to use and I think it’s a great example of what cloud computing should be all about for the end user: a nebulous IT service that just works.

Did I mention that it’s free for your first 2GB of data?

How is the Dropbox service improving?

I’m an iphone user and I’m almost always online, but I don’t want to be downloading files all the time so I’ve been longing for Dropbox to develop a native iphone application that synchronises local copies of my favourite files so I always have them to hand, as it where. And according to an email I received yesterday from Dropbox, that day is coming very soon! They’re also making file sharing more efficient on LANs, but that’s not quite as exciting to me.

On a slightly less positive note they also announced that free users’ undo history will be restricted to 30 days rather than the forever it was before, but that’s good enough for most users and it means more free space for new files.

Hopefully Dropbox will continue to develop their service, which, as a died-in-the-wool Linux lover, I much prefer to Windows Live. In my opinion it’s cloud computing at its simplest and best!

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Responses

  1. I agree with the post above – drop box is cloud computing at its best and simplest .


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