Dropbox Seeks to Work with Hard Drive Users

In the realm of data storage, there seems to be an important war playing out between cloud technology and more conventional, internet-free hard drives and solid state drives. It’s important to note that while many business analysts might claim that cloud technology is primed to take over the data storage market, this is only remotely possible in the limited market of private consumers using physical drives. For as long as there is digital information, large enterprises will need their own physical storage options, and, after all, what do you think the cloud storage service providers are using to store their customers’ information?

pi1Nowadays it’s looking like serious computer users are likely to use a hybrid of cloud and drive storage technology. Dropbox’s latest feature, “Project Infinite” serves as a prime example of businesses preparing for this possibility. The service is aimed to help users make their files look and function just like the files saved on their hard drives. They enable users to keep certain files accessible online, but to be accessed in the same places that similar files would be accessed that were stored on their desktops.

According to Dropbox, the service is meant to be a way to make it easier for people to “de-clutter” their hard drives and store more things online. Users may also choose to store things online because it enables them to access those files from any device, and because files stored online do not risk damage in the event of a natural disaster or theft of physical property. With Project Infinite, users can choose to store a file on both their Dropbox storage space and their hard drive (in which case both versions will be synced so that changes to one version of the file will be relayed to the other), or they store the file solely online, but have the file be accessible through Windows Explorer or Mac’s Finder file managers. In that way they have the organizational consistency of a locally stored file.

“These days, modern companies and truly productive teams often span offices, regions, and operating systems,” Dropbox explained via its blog entry introducing the feature. “Sadly, the tools that many rely on to access their data- traditional ones like corporate file servers (shared network drives) and new, browser-based solutions- aren’t suited to the way modern teams work.”

pi2Dropbox will tag online files stored in local file managers with a cloud icon so that users know which files are stored in which ways. Like a locally stored file, an online file’s properties, such as its size and creation date, are only a right click away.

“Project Infinite will enable users to seamlessly and securely access all their Dropbox files from the desktop, regardless of how much space they have available on their hard drives,” the blog continues.

Project Infinite will be supported by any operating system from Windows 7 and Max OS X 10.9 and on. According to Dropbox’s blog,  the service will be feared towards business use by corporate teams, and whether the service will be available to private and singular users remains uncertain. Dropbox itself costs $15 per person per month for business teams, while individual users can access a limited version of the service for free and a full version for $9.99 per month. When exactly the Project Infinite service will become available also remains unclear, though the company did mention that the feature is “already deployed with a select number of sponsor customers.”

“With regards to how it will be delivered and to which account types, we are not sharing information on pricing and packaging at this time,” said a Dropbox spokesperson. “That said, we see lots of potential use cases for the technology.”