December 01, 2011, 7:00 AM — It used to be that when I said “cloud services,” people’s eyes would glaze over and in minutes they’d be gently snoring. That was then. This is now. While CIOs and CTOs still debate about what role the cloud will have in business, personal cloud services have been slowly easing their way into almost everyone’s computing plans.
That’s not you you say? You don’t use a cloud service? Really? Do you use Dropbox to store files? Do you get your e-mail at Gmail? Are you experimenting with Apple’s iCloud? Doing work with Google Apps, Office 365, or Zoho Docs? Congratulations, you’re a cloud user. You may be thinking a lot of those are software as a service (SaaS) offerings that mimic traditional client-server computing, and you’d be right. But they’re also all cloud services.
Lately, though, personal cloud services have been moving into the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) realm. It’s in IaaS that you find file storage, media serving, and a variety of other ad hoc services for either no or minimal costs. So many of these services have been popping up, and with so many different service offerings, that I thought it was well past time to take an overview of what’s what in personal IaaS.