Don’t Make Sharing Files So Difficult – Embrace The Cloud!

Back in the day, we used to have to make do with 1.44 MB capacity floppy disks to pass around often only a word document or two.

Now without doubt, the storage devices have got bigger (in terms of disk space), smaller (in terms of physical size), more reliable and convenient.

But in the tens (is that what follows the noughties?), the 2010s that is, we really should be embracing the cloud.  Its ultra convenient, ultra flexible and with prices starting with free – well you can’t argue with that can you?

Stop using memory sticks that you know you always leave plugged into a public computer and have to scurry back to see whether its been lifted or not – embrace the cloud, its the future!

The Options

Of course there are both paid and free versions of cloud based storage services.  We’ll explore a couple of the free options – the most popular ones.  To start off with (or even as an addition to a paid plan if required), the free plans out there should be enough for anyone to get started – and there aren’t that many downsides to be honest.

Firstly…. the industry leader….

Dropbox

Dropbox is probably the most popular and leading free online cloud storage provider.  And with a generous 2GB of free space, which you can top up to 16GB for “free” (by completing certain actions), its a great place to start.

Also, with a handy app that sits in your taskbar available you can treat your Dropbox folder (basically a folder that is uploaded, well at least the changes to it are, to Dropbox so that you can login via apps, programs or the website and access the folder wherever you are) like any other folder on your computer.  Well worth it and gets our recommendation.

SkyDrive

And in a fairly close second place is SkyDrive, by Microsoft.

Similar concept, offers 7GB of space to users for free, which can initially make it more appealing that Dropbox – however don’t forget with Dropbox you can upgrade for free your initial 2GB offering up to and including 16GB.

SkyDrive, as you might expect, ties in nicely with Microsoft products such as Office, so it may be seen as having a slight advantage in professional circumstances.

Again, there’s a desktop app for this beast which can be easier to manage than using the website.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, DropBox gets our vote every time, although it can be a matter of personal preference – and how much you initially need to store – obviously with the initial SkyDrive offering being slightly higher.

However, the one thing that is abundantly clear is that whatever you do, its faster, easier and more secure to embrace the cloud.  Plus, you might as well, it is most certainly the future of many many things!

FREE Cloud Services for Application Developers

Cloud computing has been around for a little while but has only (relatively) recently started to ‘take off’ and be used by techies and non-techies alike.

Whether its a complex backup solution or your use of Apples iCloud, many computer users out there are now using cloud based services.

In addition, there has been a growth in cloud based services for applications – and the great news is that in line with this, the number of free cloud based services for application developers has increased.

We’ve come across a nice little article that has produced a list, accompanied by a short description, of the free cloud services that are currently available for application developers.

The main categories of cloud services for application developers that are currently available are:

  • Cloud Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).
  • Source Code Management (also known as Version Control and Source Control).
  • Issue Tracking.
  • Databases (including open source databases).
  • Content Management Systems (CMS).
  • Payment Gateways.
  • IaaS/PaaS/Code Hosting.
  • Load Testing.
  • Monitoring.
  • Knowledge Base and Helpdesk (support).
  • Web Analytics.

Although most people are aware of cloud computing, you may struggle to think of many cloud services that you use.  This could be because you are not using many cloud based services or that you are using them – you are just not aware that you are using them.  However, as a general rule, many application developers will be aware of some cloud based services.  To check that you aren’t missing out on any of the useful (and most importantly free!) cloud based services for application developers, XEround.com have produced an article briefly describing the following cloud based services:

  • Koding.
  • Cloud9 IDE.
  • eXo.
  • Codesion.
  • github.
  • bitbucket.
  • Mercurial.
  • Fossil.
  • TrackStudio.
  • YouTrack.
  • Issue Tracking Anywhere.
  • xeround.
  • MySQL.
  • Couch DB.
  • Mongo DB.
  • Cassandra.
  • Neo4j.
  • Hadoop.
  • WordPress.
  • Drupal.
  • Joomla.
  • Quantum Gateway.
  • Fast Charge Payment Gateway.
  • SwissMICSI.
  • Amazon Web Services.
  • CloudBees.
  • Engine Yard.
  • Jelastic.
  • phpfog.
  • Load Storm.
  • SOASTA.
  • Blaze Meter.
  • pingdom.
  • monitor.us.
  • Neuster Web Performance.
  • User Voice.
  • NeuQs.
  • 2help.biz.
  • iHelpDesk.
  • Google Analytics.
  • Woopra.
  • Clicktale.
  • Clicky.

So, as you can see, quite a comprehensive list of free cloud based services for application developers is covered!  If you’re interested in any of the services listed above, then check out the original article for more information!

Image: akakumo

An Introduction To Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, and especially cloud web hosting becoming increasingly popular these days we thought we’d provide you with a little introduction to cloud computing and how it can benefit you as an individual or as a business.

Wikipedia define cloud computing as “Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.”

In basic terms this means that there is an extreme amount of resources available to you and your websites, but, and quite importantly, only if you need them.  So in quiet periods for your sites, as your usage drops, your allocation of the resources will shrink while another website which is entering its peak period can pick up these resources to keep everything running smoothly.

So what are the benefits of this?  Well, lets take an example of this.  You have a website.  It’s a fairly new website for the new small business that you have started.  A few months go by and everything is looking fine.  You’re hosted on a shared server, so you have a defined amount of resources – they don’t change no matter how quiet or how busy your website may be.

Then, your business enters a successful period – your long hours of marketing and providing a quality product have paid off.  Great!  Or is it?  Well it’s great for your business but bad for your website.  And these days, something that is bad for your website can easily and swiftly make your business boom turn into a business bust.  Your growing popularity sees you website traffic increase substantially.  Oh no, the load on your server is now at much greater levels and your website is slowing down quite a bit.  Not a complete disaster, so you think.

But then, a few days later, and a few more days of high traffic and wham bam….. your site is suddenly down.  Obviously, this is not good.  You’ve unfortunately by this stage crashed your server, it’s slowed to a crawl so it’s no longer available or you’ve ran out of resources.  And for any company this is not good and can lead to a massive decrease in sales.

Now you see the problem with non cloud based solutions.  Cloud based web hosting is the way forward for businesses, especially SMEs (small to medium enterprises).  That way, a sudden surge in demand can be coped with fairly well and during your quiet period someone else can take advantage of the extra resources if they need them.

Admittedly, cloud hosting does cost more.  But when a minutes downtime can mean multiple lost sales isn’t it worth the piece of mind to pay as little as £10 extra a month compared to shared hosting?

One of the best (and latest) deals that we have seen around recently is eUKhosts eNlight cloud web hosting.  From as little as £14 a month you can start experiencing the benefits of cloud hosting and the extra piece of mind that comes with it.

But, the best thing about the new eNlight cloud hosting.  It has now brought the ‘pay as you go’ concept, originally associated with mobile phones, to web hosting.  If your site is initially not very busy then you won’t use many resources and therefore, as it is pay as you go, you will get charged less.  If you suddenly boom in business, your site won’t go down.  It will adapt.  As it’s pay as you go you will obviously pay for the extra resources (at a very reasonable rate my I add!) but you can relax safe in the knowledge that whatever happens, your site is not going to crumble under the pressure.

Of course there are other web hosting providers out there providing cloud web hosting solutions but this new service, which was only launched in the past month, has come to our attention due to its amazing feature list and equally amazing price.

Below is a little video which serves as an introduction to cloud computing (and cloud based web hosting) which seeks to complement the information provided in this article.

Are you currently using eNlight?  Are you currently using another cloud web hosting solution?  Let us know your views on any services that you have used or are considering or your views on cloud hosting in general.  We’re looking to compile a list of the best available cloud hosting solutions out there so please do share your thoughts below!