Head Out Of The Clouds: Why Local Storage Matters

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While the cloud, in theory, is an excellent alternative to shoving costly storage upgrades in mobile devices, it doesn't quite deliver in practice. For starters, streaming isn't always practical. Not every town has LTE, and even 3G has sidestepped smaller towns. Attempting to access larger files (movies and financial documents, just as two examples) over cellular broadband connections can be a huge pain. If you happen to slip inside of a building with thick concrete walls, good luck getting service. If you're streaming music in the car and drive through a dead zone, that's a pretty frustrating experience. But the crux of the issue here is reliability. Frankly, having access to mobile data isn't as reliable as having access to internal storage, and when dealing with sensitive documents, the stickler in me squirms when thinking of leaving access to chance.

Secondly, data isn't unlimited. It hasn't been for a long time. Even those on "unlimited" plans have limits and throttle points. If you rely solely on mobile data to access your cloud music, for example, you'll probably burn through your monthly data limit very quickly. We're living in a world where cloud usage is being increasingly encouraged, but data usage is being increasingly throttled while cost continues to rise. These two facts are simply at odds with one another, to the detriment of consumers.

It's also dubious to have your phone only be useful if it's connected to the Internet. There are times when a connection to the Internet won't be available. What about those times when you travel overseas and don't want to pay for massive roaming charges? One could argue that these predicaments are a couple of the reasons why Google's Chromebook concept hasn't gained much traction. At the end of the day, there is a lot of value in having core content available locally, while using the cloud only as an extension -- not as a crutch.

Samsung has even been giving buyers of its flagship products a whopping 50GB of Dropbox storage space. While this is most certainly a generous offer, it's usefulness hinges on fast broadband access. If you can't access the Internet, what good does the cloud do for you? If you're constantly hitting your data limit, how frequently are you going to seriously rely on the cloud?


There's nothing wrong with having one's cake and eating it too. Cloud storage is fantastic when it's available and works, but as phones and tablets increasingly become primary work machines in a lot of on-the-go instances, being able to rely first on local storage is paramount. And it's something that I fear is being looked at less now that the cloud is the buzzword du jour. Yes, select Android phones allow you to bolster your storage with a microSD card, but that's not an ideal solution either.  In my view, there's still a very real need for fast, reliable, internal storage to continue growing in mobile devices.

Does everyone need 128GB or 256GB in a phone? No, but so-called experts also figured that under 1MB of RAM would be enough memory for desktop systems "forever". With apps growing larger, one could conceivably fill up a 64GB phone with those alone, and something tells me we just aren't in a place to rely on the cloud for everything else. Not yet, anyway. Oh and as the saying goes "back-up early and often" folks.  Trusting your data to the Cloud or your fragile handset is like walking a tightrope without a safety net.

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I cannot agree more. It is the same mindset that had me reformat my CR-48 and install a real Linux OS instead of ChromeOS.

Not *everything* works best in a cloud-centric world. Not everyone is connected all the time and not every task works best with remote storage (I probably try a hundred things before doing a git push - developers would be crazy to write everything in a non-local environment at this point in time).

Cloud apps put a layer between you and the data: I don't want access to a file via someone's streaming app. I want to be able to access the bytes locally and change them as I see fit.

Maybe, in another 10 years, the tech will make our objections irrelevant.

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I'm fine with the cloud being there as a secondary point of storage, but to rely on it as a primary point is just asking for trouble.

All of those people using the web to access their gmail or other cloud email storage services are simply asking for trouble when, for whatever reason, they aren't in a service area or their connection flakes out for whatever reason.

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Glad you guys can identify. It occurred to us that there's a building risk here for folks just buzzing long happily with their data synched over the Cloud and trusting it there. It's good for convenience, bad for practicality.

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Dave_HH:
It's good for convenience, bad for practicality

Especially with the costs associated with local storage going down all of the time. It's pretty inexpensive to buy large SATA-III and stack them in an NAS box or external enclosures.

The cloud has no draw for me.

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If you have a look at DVD Infinity's facebook page on August 13 , 2012 There is an interesting article on DVD Infinity's facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/DVDInfinity. It explores the growing risks of Cloud usage for storage of irreplaceable memories.

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