Cloud Storage – What is the best option?

I will not get into any arcane storage options of unknown companies offering lifetime schemes. In fact, I would advise avoiding all such for a variety of reasons.

Let’s look at the top 3 names that offer us reliable cloud storage for normal users.

1. Apple iCloud

2. Google Drive

3. Microsoft OneDrive

Although there are some more names like DropBox, Amazon etc. we will ignore those for now…

Apple Time Capsule Issues

After having used the Apple Time Capsule for over 2 years, I wish I had gone for something more conventional. I have 3 major issues with the Time Capsule, beside other, not-so-major ones.

  • The drives go off to sleep in under a minute or so if no activity is detected. There is no option to change the timing of the sleep.

This can be extremely irritating as nothing will actually work on a system start if it resides on the Time Capsule. Most applications, including Apple’s own (iTunes etc) cannot deal with the sleeping Time Capsule. For example, I put all my iTunes and iPhoto libraries on the Time Capsule and I have to make sure that the Time Capsule is awake before I run these applications. If this was not enough, the whole Finder freezes if you select the sleeping Time Capsule till it wakes up. This is very unlike Linux/Window, where any such timeout has to be real, otherwise the system waits till the device is ready. Just this fact, with no option to fix it, makes the Time Capsule useless for any regular/daily use.

  • You cannot access the Time Capsule from different logins on the same system simultaneously.

For example, If I put some files on the Time Capsule and want to switch logins to copy the same files to a local account, it is not possible. Again, this is very cumbersome and irritating to work with.

  • The list of files on the Time Capsule in Finder will not be refreshed automatically if you copy files to the Time Capsule.

If you copy files to the Time Capsule, 95-7% of the time the list of files will not be refreshed in the Finder window. You can keep changing the sort order etc, but, nothing will change. Some files will remain greyed out. Even though you can copy these files, to actually see the file types/icons in the Finder window requires manual intervention. The simplest intervention would be to copy or delete a single file.

If you use the Time Capsule only for the occasional backup/archival and the router, it is probably amongst the best such devices you can get. For anything beyond this simple requirement, look elsewhere.

Given the fact that the Apple Time Capsule, iMacs and Macbook Pros have been around for years running OS X (9 etc), these issues are simply not acceptable today. The software/firmware at Apple lags a few light years behind the hardware. Will hardware alone be enough to carry Apple forward? Seems very doubtful.