I’ve been using Dropbox for my personal files and at work for quite awhile now. I’ve also been using Google Storage to store all my photos. I’ve also have iCloud for my iPhone backups, CloudApp for Mac and a few other “Cloud” based storage solutions.
I have to admit, that Dropbox has the cleanest integration into MacOSX, with the neat menu icon.
I’ve also like the integration into GMail which I use for personal and work email so I can easily send links to large files by browsing my Dropbox directories.
But all this comes at a cost.
Dropbox gives you 2GB to start for free and up to 18GB (500MB per referral = 32 referrals to get 16GB). If you need more, it’s $100/100GB per year.
CloudApp no longer has a free option, but they have a monthly charge of $5 for unlimited files/day, 250MB file size limit and the option to use your own domain.
Google recently changed their storage options. Long ago, I upgraded my Google Storage to 20GB for $5/year. That was a great deal a few years ago. At the most recent Google I/O conference, they announced that they were giving everyone 15GB to share across Gmail, Google+, and Drive. So now I’d be paying for $5/5GB per year. Not such a great deal anymore.
So I was beginning to think about reconciling all my data that I have in various cloud storage solutions and in external hard drives at home. I have a 1TB external drive plugged into my Mac at home with about 400GB free, and I have Verizon FIOS which gives me 50Mbps/25Mbps speeds, and I have experience setting up servers.
Owncloud to save the day. I’ll admit, this solution isn’t as elegant as Dropbox, but I’m going to try and develop all the integration points I have come to rely on.
If you’ve had experience setting up a simple IIS server or MAMP server, you’ll be able to navigate your way through setting up an instance of Owncloud. You could also setup an instance of Owncloud on Amazon AWS using a BitNami package for a turn key solution, but you’ll end up paying for the AWS hosting.
I was able to download the Owncloud source code and set it up on my instance of MAMP in under 5 minutes. I also purchased a domain name and set it up to point to my server.
I’ll be posting a Part 2 to this post to highlight some of the challenges I ran into when setting up Owncloud to fit my personal needs.