You probably have read a lot in this newsletter and elsewhere about the various file storage services in the cloud. Some of the better known ones include Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Tresorit, Mega.nz, and perhaps a few dozen others. These are valuable services that allow you to gain access to your files wherever you are, to (optionally) share files with others, and to copy files from one of your computers to another. However, there are two major drawbacks to these services:
1. They tend to charge a lot of money if you have a lot of files you wish to keep available.
2. You have to give your files and, more importantly, CONTROL of your files, to someone else.
To be sure, all the better file storage services provide industrial-strength encryption that prevents anyone else from being able to read the contents of your files—not even the employees of the file storage service. Nonetheless, many people are uncomfortable with giving control to strangers on the Internet.
I often hear or read comments from non-technical computer owners who say, “I don’t trust the cloud.” That statement always comes from someone who doesn’t understand how encryption works. Even so, convincing someone to forego their fears of giving up control is nearly impossible.
One new product called “On My Disk” would seem to solve both problems.
This small piece of software allows you to keep your data on your own disk drive(s) where you and only you have control. At the same time, you can make those files available online in a manner similar to the various file storage services.
On My Disk uses your computer’s internal hard drive or (optionally) inexpensive external disk drives that you can purchase online or at a local computer store. You probably will want to use a USB disk drive that plugs into the connector on the back of your computer although other configurations are also available. Even 4-terabyte drives are available for $80 these days. (For one example, see http://amzn.to/2x1idmz.) Even higher-capacity drives are available at higher prices. You can fill one or even dozens of those disk drives with files and place them online in your own personal cloud.
Compare those prices with storage fees charged by Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Tresorit, Mega.nz, and others!
With On My Disk, you can choose to place all your files online or just some of them. For instance, you might simply place the contents of one folder and its subfolders online but keep all other files on that disk offline.
You also control access to the files that you have online. For instance, you might keep all the files private, accessible only to yourself. Optionally, you may elect to share selected files with one person or with a group of users but not with other users. You also have the power to revoke access to the files at any time.
In effect, On My Disk creates your own personal cloud, totally under your control, running on disk drives that you purchased and installed at home or at the office. On My Disk presently works on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Raspberry Pi computers. In addition, software to be installed in routers and NAS (Network-Attached Storage) servers is under development and is expected to be released within the next few months.
Unlimited cloud space, file size, and traffic make On My Disk ideal for content makers, freelancers, photographers, videographers, and home hobbyists.
The price for the On My Disk software? FREE.
Unlike other cloud services, On My Disk offers all the business features for free.
What if you want to transfer a bunch of media files? Let’s say 1.5 terabyte videos that you recorded from a video camera? What if some of those files are more than 2 gigabytes in size? (That file size is a common problem for some file services). NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.
What if you want to store 10 terabytes or even more of files? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.
What if you are concerned about security? What if you want everything to be encrypted to keep out hackers? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.
What if you want to share some, but not all, of your files with family members or team members? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily. Shared folders can be accessed using a web browser or mobile app. Sharing options include:
- Access by link
- Access with password
- Limited time access
What if you want to replace your present FTP server? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily. It also adds more modern (and more secure) protocols than the aging FTP standard. Sending large files to a co-worker on a business trip is not a hassle.
What if a remote user is downloading a huge file and is then abruptly disconnected from the Internet? Again, NO PROBLEM. When the remote user again connects to the computer that is running On My Disk software, it simply downloads the remainder of the file(s). There is no need to start again from the beginning.
What if your files are distributed over a number of different computers? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily. However, the files do have to be accessible, either locally or via the network, to the computer that is running the On My Disk software.
What if you want to deliver large files to customers who do not have On My Disk software? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.
What if you are not a software expert and you want someone to install the software for you on your computer? NO PROBLEM! The On My Disk support personnel will install the software remotely for you for a fee.
All in all, I suspect you will agree that the list of features is impressive.
On the downside, you should be aware that the On My Disk software is new and still is considered to be a beta test version. It is in use today by hundreds of users but still is not guaranteed to be bug-free. Actually, no software is ever guaranteed to be bug-free, but fully tested and released (non-beta) software is usually fully supported. If you want fully tested software, I’d suggest you wait a few months until the supported version of On My Disk is released.
Next, you will have to install a small software program on the computer that is making files available: Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or Raspberry Pi computers are supported. That computer also must be able to access all files to be made available online, whether the files reside in the computer’s own internal hard drive, an external hard drive, or in a flash drive connected to that computer, or in another computer that is connected to it via a network. The remote user accesses the files by opening a web browser on his or her computer or cell phone.
Please keep in mind that On My Disk is a file access product, not a file backup product. It does not make backup copies and does not store backups in any other location. You still will need to make frequent backups by means of some other process, the same as you always have.
While the On My Disk software is described as a “personal cloud,” you should be aware that it is not true cloud computing. It looks and acts like the more common cloud-based file storage services (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and others) but does not operate as a true cloud-based service.
Explanation: A true cloud service runs on multiple servers, usually installed in different data centers, in widely dispersed locations. Each server in a true cloud service constantly is backing up the other servers in the same service, offering total redundancy. If a particular cloud-based server has a hardware malfunction or if an entire data center loses power or Internet connectivity, the other services in the same cloud will pick up the load within seconds and continue to operate. The end user typically does not see an interruption in service.
On My Disk does not include the ability to run on multiple servers and simultaneously copy files back and forth (called “file replication.”) In fact, On My Disk software uses old-fashioned, non-cloud, technology: one computer by itself acting as a server that can be accessed by remote users. On My Disk by itself does not offer any redundancy.
Finally, the computer(s) and router must be left powered on and operational all the time if files are to be accessed remotely whenever needed.
On My Disk software is developed by Bineon razvoj in storitve d.o.o. in Slovenia. All the software menus are in English with more languages expected to be added in the future.
On My Disk provides a quick and easy method of making files available to yourself and (optionally) to others and yet to retain total control of everything yourself.
You can read more about On My Disk or even download the software at: https://onmydisk.com.