Goodbye Campus Network Storage?

With a one-two-three the need for network storage may have just become a thing of the past.

  • Dropbox, the market mindshare leader, released and announced a series of updates.
  • Microsoft sneakily beat Google to the punch by announcing an update to their Skydrive.
  • And lastly, Google finally announced their fabled G: Drive.

Here is the quick

  • Dropbox now makes it easier than ever to use their website and to share files with anyone. Their free limit is still 2 GB though .edu email addresses provide 500 MB of free storage for each referral.
  • Microsoft’s Skydrive provides 7 GB of storage space and is incorporated into Office which means it’s easier than ever to have access to your documents. But take note, their Skydrive app is only available on OS X 10.7.
  • Google Drive provides 5 GB of storage space for free and syncs with a Google Account. A quick thought, .edu’s using Google Apps, this is for you.

The Questions

How much network storage is needed on-campus, especially at small colleges/universities, when products that provide more and more storage for free?

Of course, this approach puts data off-site but isn’t most of it already not on a campus network drive when it comes to students and faculty?

Students have trouble when a machine dies because their work is on their personal computer and faculty often has trouble when a laptop, that has been provided to them by the school, dies. Faculty using desktops in their office often don’t use the network drive and lose their data because it’s not on the network.

Would it be easier for support staff on the client side and the network side to say, “Install this and save all your documents in X folder. If anything goes wrong with the computer or if you work on another computer, tablet, or smartphone you will have access to the most recent version of your files.”

Schools cannot compete with the development cycle of large companies like Dropbox, Microsoft, and Google and yet the people they need to support are using tools built by these companies more and more.

Bandwidth? It is mostly eaten up by video not documents so there should be little issue there.

Your Take

  • Has your school moved to an off-site solution for document storage for a small/medium/large school?
  • Which service(s) were considered?
  • What reasons would keep your institution from moving to this type of model?
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