Oh what fresh hell is this?
Livedrive.com is offering small businesses a simpler way to create online back-ups of their files and data. Although there are several similar services from companies like BT, Microsoft and HP, Livedrive reckons it offers an easier way for users to create secure copies of files which they can access from anywhere. Andrew …
I was in a position to see a preview of this last March. Unfortunately back then, Mr Michael was still under the impression that you could run an operation of this size from a server under a desk, the same way he started Fasthosts.
Hopefully he's seen fit to spend a bit more cash (which he was very reluctant to do back then) and buy some bandwidth/servers/storage etc!
Really it's a nicer packaging of software like:
http://www.webdrive.com/products/webdrive/index.html or http://www.expandrive.com/sftpdrive
Just including the cost of the sftp space as well as well as some web server software to present the files nicely online.
Having used both of the above pieces of software I guess I would be very happy if this offered improved performance and compatibility with various apps. (e.g. I know the different products use different methods of transfer & caching which can achieve vastly different performance when say using a drive as a place to store and edit documents compared to something like storing your music library - due to the size of the data transfered).
As I already own my own servers, I think what I would be interested in would be the drive software itself (if it is that much better) as i'd rather store my own data.
And what's the expected cost?
Fair enough you should not always get something for nothing but not publishing a cost for a subscription service is just dirty tricks.
> During the beta you may try Livedrive without charge.
But in the Terms of Service:
> 30 day trial
> Customers opening their first Livedrive account are entitled to use the initial 30 days as a trial basis and will not be charged for this period. Customers wishing to discontinue after the trial period must give notice as above.
A number of apps like this have existed for ages, I personally use JungleDisk which is based on amazon's S3 storage system, that way the data is secure and stored with Amazon (less likely to go tits up) but Jungledisk provides the interface and software (including backup) and a drive letter concept... if jungledisk goes then i can still get at the data using any other s3 app... sounds like a better solution to me... plus the prices per gig are a lot lower... the pound sliding isnt helping tho...
OK so LiveDrive was the code name and it is now Widows Live SkyDrive but still, MS are always up for a legal ruck!
Seems interesting, I wonder whats the costs are and what country the servers are in. the DPA only applies to data stored in the UK. So if these servers are stored under the counter of a sex shop in Hamburg and you are storing other peoples names and addresses there then you in trouble.
"The service is aimed at prosumers and the small business market" ... "availability everywhere"
Read " we target home users with an attitude". Still they don't have a MacOS version ready yet. Nor have they a 64 bits version.
Marginally more luser-friendly than ftp while presumably hugely more expensive, expect security holes (I'd like to know more about the protocol and the encryption...). Actually, forget the home users, it's clearly aimed at the gov!
No copyright issues as Andrew Michael bought the domain before Microsoft could get their mitts on it, and refused to sell it to them. Microsoft then rebadged their version.
To be honest, I think he would have been better taking Microsoft's offer for the domain name. He'll make more money.
And to answer question about where servers are, they are in the UK. And if he hasn't managed to stump up for datacentre space yet, then my previous post was entirely true....they are in a small rack in his offices in Paddington. I've seen 'em! All working not-so-beautifully over a way-to-small bandwidth pipe.
Low one off fee for the software, and the rest is Amazon S3 storage costs (so all hosting done by Amazon, in their "cloud"), paid direct to Amazon, not JungleDisk.
Has a "drive letter", encryption, and all that.
Windows, Mac, Linux, and even a portable USB key version. And there's the download/decrypt source available free and forever (in case company goes TU).
For average home users, the costs are peanuts. I have around a gig stored and transfer maybe that per month and pay something like $0.50 a month, often less. Coupled with a Nationwide card for no-fees foreign card transactions, it's a billy bargain (though they do EU hosting now in UK prices, but we get slightly more ripped off with UK pricing).
For businesses, like everything with S3, pricing scales up.
Who remembers ewedrive? A UK startup in 2007, from some of the same smart people who brought you Metronet (till Plusnet made the bosses an offer they couldn't refuse). It ceased to exist a few months ago.
Well if the people that built Metronet couldn't make client-independent standards-based web storage work, what chance does Mr Fasthosts have?
I already use note take software that stores everything locally and syncs with an online database. I can access it from my PC or my thumb drive online or offline and also via the web. Its free unless you exceed a monthly data upload allowance, then you can't upload more until the next month.
But my notes are almost entirely text so I never reach the limit.
I'd love to have similar functionality with files instead of notes. Not sure how much I'd pay for it though.
Thumb drives are pretty small and cheap. So really the service would only benefit me by automatically protecting my files from loss.
Aside from an encrypted storage format, in what way is this any different from using Nautilus to do an SSH mount to my web host? How does it in any way resemble a USB stick? And why is this entire article a press release without any biting commentary? Or is the whole article a big joke that just went over my head? What the hell is going on here?
Sounds very like Microsoft Live Mesh (www.mesh.com) which is essentially just a shiny repackaging of WebDAV, Windows Briefcase and Remote Desktop as far as I can tell. Having said that, despite Live Mesh being a Microsoft beta it is does seem to work well in a Windows-only environment.
Whatever you might think of Michael's intentions, LiveDrive seems to work pretty well and is damn quick! Better than Humyo which I've used in the past but dropped as it's too slow to sync. I also like the embedded viewers and editors in the web portal. All in all, a good effort from a British firm taking on Mr Gates and Mr Page/Brin ;-)
Ok, I gave it a try today and transferred a few gigs over, then back onto my hd. Suddenly the connection hung. I went into the admin panel and discovered the "integrity check" button (kinda makes you nervous to see an "integrity check" button for a remote walled-garden storage that stores your precious data donit?) - and bingo, the pop up informs me "Your Livedrive did not shutdown correctly, please wait while we perform an integrity check..." hmmm, I never shut anything down, it just suddenly hung up on me... well, that was 45 minutes ago, and still integrity checking away here - halfway through... 500megs of data is still sitting on the Livedrive, yikes..
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