Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mobile Cloud computing: Storage and Backup

The hottest wave in the world of technology is the growth of Cloud Computing. Mobile Cloud Computing is shortly going to be the future of communicating and conducting business all over the world. Cloud Computing is a new form of accessing data (applications, documents, music files, video files, pictures, and so forth) from anyplace in the world without the need of actually carrying the data with you thru the use of memory cards, hard drives or flash cards, The main advantage of such a technology is that it frees individuals from their desktop and allows them to access their data anywhere and anytime. By hosting everything on a ‘cloud’, users no longer have to worry about leaving home without having all their information accessible to them.

Currently throughout the world, there are more “feature” mobile phone users than “smart” phone users and since “feature” mobile phones do not have enough processing power or memory to support huge amounts of data, Cloud Computing seems to be the ideal solution for those “feature” mobile phone users. Cloud computing will allocate these “feature” mobile phone users to have the same amount of data access available to them as “smart” phone users except for the simple fact that “feature” phone users will not physically have their data stored onto the phone (due to the low processing/memory capabilities), it will be on their cloud and accessible to them when required. This extra advantage of Cloud Computing allows developers and mobile industry companies to start targeting a larger market than only “smart” phone users, which in turn will give Cloud Computing more thrust going into the future.

When it comes to working with data and files on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, one of the most crucial issues concerns data storage – where and how the data is going to be stored, accessed, updated and backed up. In a mobile cloud computing scenario, both mobile apps and data are stored and run directly from the cloud, increasing the relevancy of network servers, data center infrastructure and efficient network delivery while decreasing the importance of the storage capacity and processing power of the end-user device itself.

Cloud storage providers and online data backup intermediaries

There are many service providers offering cloud-based storage solutions, most of them already providing IaaS and/or PaaS services in the first place.  These include the Amazon S3and Rackspace CloudFiles storage services on the enterprise level and Google Docs and Microsoft SkyDrive for use by SMEs and individuals.

A number of intermediaries have built user-friendly services and interfaces that provide access to cloud data storage and backup from multiple devices, fixed and mobile. Some of the most notable include Box.netDropBoxJungleDisk and SugarSync. These often utilize the storage space provided by the large cloud storage service providers, such as Amazon and Rackspace, and provide a range of applications and interfaces for accessing and manipulating the stored data.


Services such as Google's G-Drive , Microsoft's SkyDrive, Ubuntu One, Apple iCloud, Amazon CloudDrive and others like the widely popular DropBox (a five-year-old start-up that leads the pack in this field), SugarSync and SpiderOak, have already carved various niches for themselves in the market.

Online cloud-based data storage and backup services

In a 2011, the three online data backup services that received the highest ranking are:

  • SugarSync (5 GB) – the overall winner with the most features and options. Possible to sync and share data across multiple devices and supports a range of mobile devices including iPad, iPod, Blackberry, Android, iPhone and Symbian. SugarSync uses SSL encryption for secure file transfer and 128-bit AES encryption on stored data as well as backing up customer data in two separate data centers.
  • DropBox (2 GB) – has most of the required functionality except the ability to configure idle backups. Offers a free version of 2GB and Pro versions for 50 and 100GB. DropBox uses the same security features as SugarSync as well as support for mobile handsets.
  • IBackup – takes the third place and is also an excellent choice for both home users and business users, offering plans with up to 1000GB storage space. IBackup offers encrypted transmission and storage and geo redundant storage. However, IBackup lacks some of the smartphone features offered by the others.
Apart from the above list few new name aslo got introduced recently in terms of mobile cloud computing , such as, 
  • iCloud (5GB) - iCloud is the latest branding of Apple's cloud computing services. It has previously been branded as iTools in 2000, .Mac in 2002, and MobileMe in 2008. iCloud allows users to back-up (iOS devices) online; they can be restored from backup without connecting to a computer.Each account has 5 GB of free storage for owners of either an iOS device using iOS 5.x or a Mac using OS X Lion 10.7.x. However certain content purchased from Apple's iTunes Store (currently this includes music, apps, audiobooks, and music videos, but doesn't include movies) does not count towards the included free 5 GB limit, as it is separately linked from Apple's iTunes database of content to the users' connected Apple ID. This means that any content previously purchased via iTunes can automatically, or manually if preferred, be downloaded to any registered device (i.e. iOS devices, and computers). Also, when a user registers any new device, all previously bought iTunes content can be downloaded from the iTunes servers, or non-iTunes content from the iCloud servers. iCloud requires a device running iOS 5.x or a Mac running Lion to create a new account. 
  • G-Drive (5GB) - That Google Drive offers integration with their office application suite Google Docs, social networking service Google Plus and offers the ability to open and view several more types of file formats (all from the comfort of your browser) is certainly a plus. Google Drive is a significant upgrade in utilities as well as appearances from the G-Drive service, that Google started in 2004, simply because Google has since added many more useful services.As an initial offer, Google offers free online space of 5 GB.
  • SkyDrive (25GB) - SkyDrive (officially Microsoft SkyDrive, formerly Windows Live SkyDrive) is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local device. It is part of the Windows Live range of online services and allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly-shared files do not require a Windows Live ID to access. The service offers 25 GB of free personal storage for new users. Additional storage is available for purchase. The service is built using HTML5 technologies, and files up to 300 MB can be uploaded via drag and drop into the web browser, or up to 2 GB via the SkyDrive desktop application for Windows and Mac OS X.

Assess the benefits and limitations of cloud storage and backup

Although online data backup services in the cloud offer many conveniences, they have their limitations as well. When it comes to backing up large amount of data (100GB or more) using an average internet connection for uploading the data becomes costly and time consuming. Therefore, some service providers offer so called “seed-load” of initial data backup. The service provider will either send a hard drive, or accept a removable hard drive to “seed” the backup account. The hard drive is then shipped to the provider who loads it into the server and from there on the user only needs to remotely backup additional files and changes.

Overall, the benefits of online data storage backup seem obvious, especially for home users and SMEs, both from an economical and security point of view – assuming that users verify the amount of data needed to be stored or backed-up and select the most beneficial way.

List of backup software:
Backup Software


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