Browsing articles from "January, 2013"
Jan
4

Application Idea: Virtualize Cloud Storage

By Rob Warner  //  Mac, Software  //  2 Comments

I have a Dropbox Pro account with 107.5GB of storage, an iCloud account with 15GB of storage, and free accounts with Box (50GB), SpiderOak (2GB), GDrive (5GB), SkyDrive (7GB), ASUS WebStorage (8.5GB), Cubby (5GB), and UbuntuOne (5GB). I have plenty of cloud storage space. What I don’t have is a good way to manage that space.

Each of those cloud storage options operates as an island. Most create a directory in my home folder that its daemon syncs to the cloud. I can set preferences on my various devices for what gets synced inside that folder, but that folder is its own beast. If I want to save something to the cloud, I have to decide which cloud service to sync to and either save to that directory or otherwise upload to that service.

I got to thinking: what about an app that virtualized all that storage into a single virtual drive? This app would take care of managing which service to save files to, depending on file sizes and free space, and could even replicate files across services for my peace of mind. Sounds fun to build and definitely useful.

As I thought about it, though, I realized this app would have two issues:

  1. It doesn’t seem very sporting. These cloud services need paid customers to stay afloat. My proposed app could entice people to never pay for any cloud services, mooch the free services, and let the app take care of never running out of space.
  2. The primary target audience would be the people mentioned in objection #1, and they’re cheapskates. Not only wouldn’t they pay for cloud storage, they also wouldn’t pay me for the app, either.
Those two objections have dissuaded me from building Virtual Cloud, or whatever I’d call it.
 
Since I’m not typically brimming with revolutionary ideas, I’m sure plenty of other people have thought of creating a similar app. I’m curious, though, why no one has built it–and what cloud storage companies like Dropbox are doing to thwart such an app if it ever gets built.
 
Worth Mentioning: I use an app called Found (https://www.foundapp.com/) that searches my various cloud storage services. It doesn’t yet support all the cloud storage services I use, but it’s pretty slick. Check it out.

About

I'm Rob Warner, and I'm a software developer. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and work for Availity, LLC. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Availity.