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Where is the best place to store data?

added on 5th February 2013

As we transition to an ever-more digitized world, storage becomes an increasingly essential medium. From documents and files to ebooks, pictures and movies, the information we need to store requires more space than ever before. But how effectively do we really make use of the space which is available to us?

With so many devices being available for the different work and activities we carry out, storage can become not only an availability issue but a logistical one as well. We traditionally save files on our computer’s hard drive and carry a thumb-drive around for those files we need on the go. But new technology can permit us to consolidate all of the space, save us carrying cumbersome drives and easily share files.

Before we get our heads in the cloud, it is well worth revisiting the one storage medium we access daily – the local hard drive and discuss ways on how we can optimize the humble platter to utilize it in the most efficient way possible.

Disk Defragmentation (Like sardines in a tin)
Traditional hard-drives make use of a platter to magnetically store data. Hard-drive space is organized in clusters which can each store a certain amount of data.  Sometimes (due to installing, saving, uninstalling and deleting files) cluster usage can become very inefficient with loads of empty space in between. Disk defragmentation is a nifty tool that rearranges files in a contiguous fashion for faster file access and less wasted space. It can also lengthen a hard-drive’s lifespan by minimizing head travel to read data.

File compression (The digital diet plan)
Files stored on a hard drive tend to take more space than is strictly necessary. Data repetition is common place within a file (think of how many the’s are used in any given word document) and its usage can be safely curbed through file compression.By compressing files, we remove redundant data and replace it with an identifier which links back to the data we have removed, effectively reducing the file’s size. Compressed files might take longer to load, making this most beneficial to files which are not accessed on a continuous basis.

Disk Cleaning (Reducing excess baggage fees)
Drawers have a habit of accumulating junk until it becomes a physical challenge to slide them open. This seemingly unexplainable mystery can manifest itself in hard drives and whilst we do not know much about drawers, when it comes to hard drives we have the solution for you.Applications we install generate junk files which we do not really make you of. From logs and dump files to temporary files and error reports, much space can be gained by cleaning out files which we do not need.
Cleaning drives is an easy and cost-effective way to gain more space. MaxiDisk is a Uniblue software tool which maximizes hard-drive usage by cleaning and organizing your hard-drive. Download now to see how much space you can gain and prolong your drives’ lifespans. (Might Require legal approval.)

Every cloud has a storage lining
Cloud Storage is an upcoming technology that solves many of the logistic issues surrounding data sharing and availability. In cloud storage, we save files in a personal ‘drive’ which can be accessed over the internet so no matter which device you are using, your files are always available. Basic accounts generally feature some storage for free with monthly/ yearly fees for upgrades. Some of the biggest players include;

Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/ 2GB free
SkyDrive https://skydrive.live.com/ 7GB free
Google Drive https://drive.google.com/ 5GB free

Some companies also provide a tool which through a web interface can consolidate all of your cloud storage accounts. Through one login you will be able to access a number of cloud storage profiles using a single interface. Otixo is one such company which features compatibility with most of the biggest names in the consumer cloud storage business. 

With so many options when it comes to data storage, we are truly spoilt for choice. Some careful planning and a little bit of maintenance goes a long way in ensuring peace of mind and enough space to save our data in the best way that fits our individual lifestyles.