Online syncing services have allowed me to almost entirely forget about USB memory sticks and significantly reduced my use of clunky external hard drives even though I regularly work on different computers on both Mac and PC platforms. An added bonus is that I can also access my files on my iPad and Android Phone.
Multiple Computer Sync and Online Sync – Dropbox
This is the ideal solution for me and Dropbox really fits the bill for this. Dropbox has added the ability to remove sync folders so I don’t have to sync archive folders on a working laptop. This is great and would be a simple solution if I could afford more space. However, unless the cost of service gets a lot cheaper, Dropbox as a sole solution will not work for me. This is why I have been looking for good ways to leverage the other free services out there.
Online Storage Only – Box.net
Yes, there are things that I would like to be universally accesible, but that I do not need to actually have stored on each device. These types of files include Manuals, Files for other people to download, project files for recently completed projects, E-books, & non-current media. Basically, I put files that I may want easy access to, but not necessarily local access in my Box account. This is especially good for e-books. They take a lot of space, but I can only read so many at a time. Still, almost my whole library is available to me anywhere on any device.
Online Sync Only – Microsoft Live Mesh
Whatever does not need to be on the cloud. The great thing about not syncing to the cloud is that space is not really an issue. My 2oGigabyte Lightroom Database does not need to be stored in the cloud. I am not going to recommend that anybody else use sync services for Lightroom, but from time to time, being able to switch Macs and open a database is important to me. Basically, almost anything that needs a Windows or OSX to use can be offloaded to the Online Sync Only category. Large project folders can be put here. I will not be needing the large photos and movies stored online, only on a computer that will be editing them. This is where I am getting a lot of storage savings. Stuff I cannot use on my phone or tablet and is not really practical to download from the cloud. Live Mesh allows me to sync via LAN or over the internet bypassing cloud storage. Live Mesh also allows you to sync folders with other users. What about online backup for these files? I use Crashplan for backup and I backup everything.
Working with multiple computers and sharing files has never been easier or as cost effective. Dropbox would really do all of this for me in one package, but setting up 2 more accounts and managing a few more folders is not a big deal. Dropbox is great service that I would love to subscribe to, it’s just that the first tier isn’t enough and the 2nd tier is too costly in light of what other serviced are available. Box gives me 50Gigs of free storage, I currently use Crashplan for backup and I bought 20GB of additional cloud storage from Google for $5/year.
Sugarsync and Spideroak are 2 more services that I am trying out, however their initial free offerings just aren’t large enough for me to switch anything over at this time. Dropbox has made it incredibly easy to expand my free storage with referrals and at this point I would not be able to get 13Gigabytes of free storage as easily.