Drop the Box, Drive Away, and Own the Cloud
I’m still on a kick to try and eliminated hosted services as much as is practicable. I’ve already replaced Google Reader, kicked out FeedBurner (with, seemingly, no ill effects), and nuked Google Analytics. Now I’m turning my sights directly onto file syncing.
“But why?”, you might ask. It’s already been revealed that Google and Microsoft have been compliant with the NSA, and DropBox is supposedly in the works. This means using Drive, SkyDrive, or DropBox could land your data in federal storage until you’re identified as a target. Call me overly paranoid, but most folks did when I said all of our phone calls and emails were likely being monitored. How’s that worked out?
Besides security, hosting your own file sync service means you’re only limited by the amount of space your hosting company will provide. For me, that’s a solid 97GB. To get that kind of space on DropBox, I’d have to pay $10 a month. Google is cheaper, but still $5 a month. Skydrive is still $50 a year. That would be on top of hosting I’m already paying for.
There’s a few products out there, but OwnCloud definitely has the most polish. There’s clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iPhone/iPad. The web interface is like a prettier DropBox. It has almost all of the same features as the big guys and, as an open-source project, is improving on a regular basis. The only downsides I’ve found so far are 1) the camera sync setup for Android is unclear, 2) performance on my host is noticeably slower compared to DropBox and Drive, and 3) I had to do some manual tweaks to get logins from clients to work on my host (and by manual tweaks, I mean editing the source code). It otherwise setup in minutes.
Aside from those few setup issues, it’s working great. I don’t think I’d consider going back to another service for file sync.