3 Ways to Store Your Files on Your Computer in the Era of Cloud Storage


The primary reason why we all have a computer is to process data; to store and retrieve it. Storage is the process by which data is stored. It’s one of the cornerstones of a computer’s existence. You would be a fool to not understand this concept thoroughly, yet so many people don’t. If you don’t understand it, you can’t get started with your new computer.

Cloud Storage

There are three ways to store data on your computer: local storage, cloud storage and software-defined storage (SDX). The two types of storage are very similar in that they offer the same advantages over one another. Both cloud storage and local storage rely on your hard drive for their backing (as opposed to some other kind of fundamental part of computing).

When it comes to file storage, most people want some combination of the above three methods:

  • Local Filesystem Drive: This is where all your files are stored on your hard drive, organized in some way. Almost everyone has a separate directory for their files that resides on their hard drive, and this is generally what most people mean when they say “local filesystem drive.”
  • Network Filesystem Drive: A network filesystem drives are used by file sharing applications such as CIFS or NFS-to connect computers across the network sharing folders in common among them (see sidebar below)
  • Software-Defined Storage: This is an abstraction layer that allows you to store data that can be accessed via APIs available through your operating system (see sidebar below). Software-defined storage was introduced several years ago but has gained significant traction lately due to its integration with container technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes (see sidebar below)

Nowadays, almost every modern computer comes with at least one type of file system built into it; so if you get one out early enough and choose what type you want then your choice will determine how you store your files forever — as long as you keep up with security updates!

Your choices may also be dictated by how many users access files on your machine at any given time — for example if more than 12 people share a folder on their machine at any given time then I will probably set up my own private network share rather than go with something like Windows’ NTFS filesystem or Mac OS X File Sharing. The first few versions of Microsoft Windows came bundled with NTFS.

Three ways to store files on your computer in the era of cloud storage

In the age of cloud storage, users are finding it easier and easier to store all their files online. They also have access to any file stored online without having to buy a separate item for it. But, is this something we should be embracing?

To answer that question, you need to consider 4 things:

  • The financial cost for storing files in the cloud (I’m talking about servers, bandwidth and hosting);
  • The security of the storage;
  • The usability of the storage;
  • The ease of getting access to files stored in the cloud (digitally or otherwise).

But, before getting into those four topics, let’s take a look at what cloud storage does:  it takes all your files (on all your devices), puts them on one shared resource that people can access from anywhere. If you are someone who has multiple devices (e.g., several laptops or phones), you could use a web-based file management tool like Dropbox.

The downside is that if you want to check on your files on another device while they are stored in Dropbox, then you need to get an iTunes license or some other software. This is not convenient and makes sense only if you want to be able to access your data on multiple devices at once—you can’t do this with desktop applications either.

So what do end-users need in order to store their files online? Well, first off they need an online service with a decent security policy:

They should have a backup policy in place where all important data is backed up regularly and for longer than a month

their backups should be encrypted so that even if something happens (e.g., someone breaks into their computer) those files can’t be accessed by anyone else even after the backup has been made. That last point is critical because there are no guarantees about how long someone will keep your data safe after it was created—just like people who keep valuable items on their desk never know when someone will come along and break into it—they could lose everything forever if they don’t take precautions against theft.

At least with cloud services like Dropbox they know exactly how long they will keep your data safe so they can operate carefully and safely while protecting it from loss as well as theft by others: when you create a new account with Dropbox, it creates two new users within Dropbox who will each have access to your own private folders as well as public.


The growing popularity of cloud storage and the proliferation of free, open source file storage software (including Google Drive) in the last few years has given rise to a number of questions for programmers. You can safely say: “I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing here, but why am I having this problem?” There are three common reasons:

  • You don’t know what you need to store your files. For some things that is pretty obvious, like images and music. Others are far more obscure, like code snippets and logs. In general, there is no standard approach to storing any files on a single computer or server; here you need to ask yourself: “Where would I store my files?” The answer may be obvious, but if not, it might be a problem if it doesn’t work well enough for you.
  • You don’t know how the file system will behave when you run certain commands (including those for changing or deleting files). What happens when an unneeded file gets deleted? Will all your changes disappear with it?

For example, suppose you have a music studio application on two different computers; one is set up for recording audio and the other is only used to manage music in projects. If you want to work on another project at the same time, you may want to copy all the files from one (your main) machine over to the other (which probably uses some specialized file system). But what if something goes wrong with one of them? If your main computer crashes and your backup fails, then everything on it disappears forever!

The reason we have this problem is that most systems designed around specific needs as we know them today simply don’t exist anymore; they were replaced by other systems with new features and better performance (and many of these are free too!).

For example, Windows Server 2003 introduced a “virtual hard disk” feature that allowed administrators to create virtual discs instead of physical hard disks. When those virtual disks were created using Microsoft Storage Server 2000 technology, they were not compatible with earlier versions of Windows XP.

In fact, they didn’t support older operating systems at all. So, administrators had to spend hours trying to get Windows XP running on Storage Server 2000-based servers under their control. Similarly, with SQL Server 2005: if you use SQL Server 2000 data warehouse tools without upgrading them directly from SQL Server 2005 or using a Microsoft Data Warehouse product.


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