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New ‘5D’ Disc Storage Can Store 500TB of Data for 13 Billion Years

New ‘5D’ Disc Storage Can Store 500TB of Data for 13 Billion Years

New ‘5D’ Disc Storage Can Store 500TB of Data for 13 Billion Years 1

A new high-speed laser writing method claims that it can pack 500 terabytes (TB) of storage onto a single CD-sized glass disc. That equals somewhere in the neighborhood of 125,000,000 photos.

Researchers from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom say they have developed a fast and energy-efficient laster-writing method that can produce high-density nanostructures in silica glass. They say that these tiny structures can be used for the long-term storage of five-dimensional (5D) optical data that is 10,000 times denser than the optical disc storage technology used for Blue-Rays.

Yuhao Lei, a doctoral researcher, says the new method encompasses two optical dimensions plus three spatial dimensions, hence the “5D” name. This new approach can write at tpeeds of about 230 kilobytes per second. This speed isn’t particularly fast when compared to SSD or even HDD writing speeds that are commercially available, but given the large amount of data that can be written to a single disc, it’s likely to be fine for data that is intended for backups or long-term storage.

“The physical mechanism we use is generic,” Lei says. “Thus, we anticipate that this energy-efficient writing method could also be used for fast nanostructuring in transparent materials for applications in 3D integrated optics and microfluidics.”

This particular method has been demonstrated before, but the speeds at which Lei and her team of researchers have achieved is what makes it useable for real-world applications. With the new method, the details of which are described on Optica, the researchers were able to write five gigabytes of text data onto a silica glass disc about the size of a standard CD with what they describe as “nearly 100% readout accuracy.”

New ‘5D’ Disc Storage Can Store 500TB of Data for 13 Billion Years 2

As noted by Engadget, this type of storage medium could withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celcius and last 13.8 billion years at room temperature without degrading. Both factors are significant upgrades over current long-term storage options. That’s nearly indestructible from the standpoint of what normal data storage has to put up with, but it’s not clear how fragile the disc is to something like dropping.

They say that with the writing density available, the disc would be able to hold 500 TB of data which could be written to that single disc in about 60 days (if writing in parallel). That sounds like a long time, but given the amount of time it can take to upload and download data remotely even with good internet, two months of time for 500 TB of long-term storage isn’t terribly inefficient, and the robustness of the storage medium would make it more than worth it.

What’s more, the team is now working on ways to increase the writing speed of their method to make it feasible to use outside of a laboratory. If that speed can be increased, they will have developed a small and practical method for long-term data storage.


Photo credits: Yuhao Lei and Peter G. Kazansky, University of Southampton

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CRDBAG is a New Photo Gear Storage and Organization System

CRDBAG is a New Photo Gear Storage and Organization System

New Swedish company CRDBAG has set out to create better storage solutions for photographers and videographers. Its system is based on a set of durable bags that can eventually be laid out on a studio wall for easy access.

The company has started with two products available in multiple sizes: the CRDPOUCH and CRDWALL.

The CRDBAG lineup seems to combine tactical features with the world of high-end outdoor equipment and the company says it set out to create the ultimate tool for sub-packing and storing camera equipment for filmmakers and photographers. Taking a page from the cable management bags from Think Tank and ramping it up a notch, the CRDPOUCH system is designed to be tagged and labeled for easy identification of all the items and grip in a photographer’s kit.

The system is quite the departure from either open-shelf storage when at home or velcro dividers inside of bags when taking equipment on the road.

CRDBAG is a New Photo Gear Storage and Organization System 3

The CRDPOUCH bags are closed by a weather-resistant YKK zipper and are made with Cordura — which is a very durable material — and integrate a semi-transparent panel in the front to make visual identification of what is inside in the bags easy (if the label isn’t enough).

The system is currently available in four sizes ranging from the 10x23x0.5 centimeter small pouches capable of storing a portable hard drive or some batteries, to the 25x43x0.5 centimeter extra-large pouches that are capable of storing a gaff kit and or smaller drones and accessories. The entire lineup of pouches is only 0.5 centimeters (0.2 inches) thick making them ideal for storing in a pelican case, rolling bags, or even backpacks.

CRDBAG is a New Photo Gear Storage and Organization System 4

The inside of the bags features small zipped organizer pockets that the company sees as useful for smaller loose items like batteries and memory cards, while the exterior features small pockets made especially for Apple AirTags or similar tracking products such as a Tile, and a “tactical hook” designed for hanging the pouches in a variety of ways, including connecting them to the upcoming CRDWALL which the company plans to launch towards the end of 2021.

CRDBAG is a New Photo Gear Storage and Organization System 5

The CRDWALL is a wall-mounted modular system meant to hang the CRDPOUCH bags for easy access. The setup is made up of two bars and eight hooks on each that have a crisscrossed cord that runs between them to attach the pouches and other gear too. The design of the system is certainly unique, and while aesthetically it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, there is definitely something intriguing about a studio setup that allows easy access to the various items a photographer might need, all at arms length.

The CRDPOUCH from CRDBAG is available in four different kits ranging from $108 for a four-pack of Small bags to $149 for a four-pack of Extra Large bags. The CRDWALL will be available near the end of the year and is expected to cost around $200. Full details on the CRDBAG system cam be found on the company’s website.

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10 Google Photos Alternates for Unlimited High-Res Storage

10 Google Photos Alternates for Unlimited High-Res Storage

– Partner Content –

Camera and laptop

 

 

Ever since Google Photos announced they are no longer offering unlimited high-resolution photo storage, photographers and consumers have been searching for alternatives that are equal in features and won’t break the bank.  

As a leading photography website with years of experience, we dug in and looked for the best Google Photos alternatives based on the following criteria:

  • Image compression when uploading and storing
  • Total cost for unlimited photo storage
  • Customer support
  • Photography industry-oriented vs. consumer and other industry
  • Years offering storage so you know it won’t disappear
  • Organization apps
  • Security
  • Apps to back up from cameras, computers and phones

 

Here are our top ten picks for the best Google photos alternatives:

 

Number 1: SmugMug

SmugMug

 

The number one choice for a google photos alternative is SmugMug*. Since 2002, SmugMug has been servicing the photography community and focusing all of its energies on photographers and hobbyists. Because they are photographer-centric, they never compress or reduce image quality with their unlimited photo storage.  

When you combine that with the apps for workflow to take you from camera to storage, to editing to portfolio or client delivery, they are by far the top choice for the best-unlimited photo storage solution and alternative to Google Photos.  You can choose from four options which each offer unlimited photo storage, secure sharing, a plethora of apps, and a portfolio website. 

SmugMug Pros

  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Tons of web customisation 
  • Great tools for professional photographers
  • Built-in e-commerce features
  • 14-day free trial 
  • Designed for both consumer and professional photographers
  • Possibility to get paid for your photos

SmugMug Cons

  • No free tier
  • RAW is not included in the regular photo storage

 

SmugMug Fun Fact:  SmugMug’s customer support team is called “Support Heroes” and everyone receives their own unique superhero (or any movie, comic book or pop culture character) themed face painting and portrait shoot.

 

Save 15% On A SmugMug Account*

 

Number 2: Flickr

Flickr

 

Flickr is an easy number 2 choice. Founded in 2004, Flickr is known as the community for photographers.  Outside of honing in on your skills by engaging in the groups, photographers and hobbyists enjoy storing their shots with Flickr in both the free and paid photo storage solutions.  

You can list usage rights for your images, keep them private, and the cost for storage is very hard to beat. The new versions of the Flickr apps for iOS and Android also feature the ability to automatically upload and mark as private every single image you take on your smartphone to Flickr, so you will never lose a shot. The paid version also includes the stats about which of your photos are trending.

If you want the brand photographers trust and a community to provide you with tips and tricks to hone in your skills, Flickr is the right choice for you.

Flickr Pros

  • Offers storage of 1,000 photos and videos for free
  • Social network for photographers
  • Strong community
  • Original files are not compressed

Flickr Cons

  • Must join Flickr Pro to get unlimited storage
  • Limits on file sizes for free version

 

Flickr Fun Fact: Back in 2008, Flickr user Jake Rome came up with the idea to get Flickr to give donuts away and even started the We Demand Donuts group.  Flickr took notice and gives away free doughnuts to anyone who wants one as part of Day of the Donut every year.

 

Number 3: 500PX

500px

 

Our third choice for the best Google photos alternative is 500px.  Founded in 2009, they too have been supporting the photography community and offer high-resolution photo storage. Much like Flickr, you can set licensing options and just like SmugMug they offer apps to help you go from shooting to storing easily.  

500px offers some unique features to help you as a photographer like being listed in a directory to get jobs and also a comparison to see how you stack up to other photographers in quests.  They are more photographer-centric than consumer and hobbyist, but that does not make them less of a contender and this is why they are our number 3 choice.

500PX Pros

  • Designed for photographers
  • Possibility to get paid for your photos
  • Possibility of licensing images
  • Great for creating a professional portfolio
  • Strong community

500PX Cons

  • Restricted uploads on free accounts
  • Advertising appears on free accounts
  • Very limited sharing options
  • Hacked with customer data stolen in 2018

 

500PX Fun Fact: 500PX has over 15 million users in over 195 countries who have uploaded over 100 million photos!

 

Number 4: Amazon Photos

Amazon

 

Number four on our list is Amazon’s photo storage solution.  The largest benefit to Amazon* is that it is a behemoth, so you know they are not going anywhere. But they are a consumer product vs. a photo storage solution for photographers.  

The website says it is full-resolution storage which is a big perk as a photographer, but they also offer printing. If you’re hosting here, your clients may be able to bypass and print cutting into your margins.  If you’re a consumer, this is a massive bonus, but if you cannot choose your own print shop you risk print quality when it comes to featuring your art in the real world. 

Because of the price points, ease of use and full-resolution photo storage, Amazon photos is our number four choice.

 

Amazon Photos Pros

  • Automatic photo uploads
  • Sharing for up to five people
  • Photo printing

Amazon Photos Cons

  • Requires Amazon Prime subscription 
  • Expensive to buy additional storage
  • Not suitable for commercial use

 

Amazon Photos Fun Fact: Amazon Photos works with Alexa.  Just say “Alexa, take a selfie” and the front camera of your Echo Show will take a picture of you and save it to Amazon Photos.  

 

Number 5: PhotoBucket

PhotoBucket

Our number five choice is PhotoBucket. Much like our top three choices they are photography-focused. PhotoBucket was founded in 2005, so they will likely be around for a long time, but our opinion is they lean more heavily to consumers than professional photographers.  

The price for unlimited photo storage is very reasonable but when searching the help section we could not find any information on if it is high-resolution or if they compress images upon upload, so we went to reviews.  Overall, everything is positive except for the issue of limited images and blurred-out images for the free accounts.

If you’re a consumer or social media star and need a solid solution for sharing to social media and making quick edits, PhotoBucket is a great choice!

 

PhotoBucket Pros

  • Auto-generates URLs for sharing and embedding your photos
  • Built-in editing tools
  • Facebook integration
  • Free 2GB plan with a 10GB bandwidth limit 
  • 8GB of free storage if you download and use the mobile apps for iOS and Android

 

PhotoBucket Cons

  • Must purchase expert plan for unlimited storage
  • The community is saturated with teenagers

PhotoBucket Fun Fact: Photobucket hosts more than 10 billion images from 100 million registered members.

 

Number 6: Shutterfly

Shutterfly

Although Shutterfly is more known for their consumer printing products, photographers love the ease of storing their work and being able to print on demand across tons of products.  The quality for fine art will never be equal to that of your favorite print shop that fine-tunes every detail, but if you’re looking for unlimited storage and an easy way to make some sales during the holidays, they are our go-to choice.

Photo storage is easy with Shutterfly and you can upload directly from your PC.  They also offer great photoprotection if you’re worried about your work being stolen. 

 

Shutterfly Pros

  • Completely free
  • Photo printing 
  • Photo products available

Shutterfly Cons

  • Lack of in-app photo editing
  • Limited download resolution
  • Can only store JPEG files

 

Shutterfly Fun Fact: Shutterfly was the exclusive philanthropic partner for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and together they have changed the lives of guests by giving away over $10 million. 

 

Number 7: iDrive

iDrive

 

iDrive is not a photo storage solution on its own, but it is a cloud storage solution that hosts photos in a secure way. With their “Auto Camera” option, you can automatically upload photos (and videos) from your device to your IDrive account, while retaining the image quality.  Their software can also backup all your Facebook photos and Instagram uploads.

The price point is amazing for what you get, you could use it for other files, and iDrive gets fantastic reviews across the board making them an easy choice for our number 7 alternative to Google photos. 

If security is your top concern, along with storage space then this is a great option. But unlike photography and photographer-focused services, you won’t get the printing options, secure sharing, and display tools like you would with SmugMug, Flickr and 500px.  

 

iDrive Pros

  • Free 5GB storage
  • Backup entire devices or specific files
  • Auto Camera feature
  • No compression
  • Highly secure

iDrive Cons

  • Exceeding storage limits is expensive
  • Must pay for 12 months upfront
  • Slow uploading and downloading speeds

 

iDrive Fun Fact: iDrive helps over 4 million customers back up over 200 Petabytes of data!

 

Number 8: pCloud

pCloud

 

pCloud is more of an all-around storage provider and is not just a dedicated photo cloud storage provider. Because of this, they offer a lifetime storage subscription option for multiple image file formats.  

Photographers love that they can see previews of most of their RAW files with both the web and mobile versions of pCloud. There is also a browser extension that allows photographers to save videos and images directly to their pCloud accounts and create a static HTML website with its own URL. pCloud also allows you to backup your files from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram every 3 days. 

While pCloud does offer some features for photographers, it doesn’t have them strictly in mind which is why they aren’t on the top of our list.

 

 pCloud Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Can store photos and videos 
  • Lifetime payment option
  • Social media backups are available
  • Highly secure

 pCloud Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited storage on the free version
  • Minimal photo editing features
  • No monthly payment plans
  • No photo recognition for search
  • Limited to 2TB of download traffic per month (uploading is unlimited)

 

pCloud Fun Fact: pCloud stores 5 separate copies of every file you upload onto their servers in 3 different locations at a secure data center facility in Dallas, Texas. They also track your file history for 30 days so if you make a mistake with the current version or accidentally delete your file, you can easily go back to a previous version.

 

Number 9: Dropbox

Dropbox

 

Dropbox is more of a jack-of-all-trades provider and syncs files of all types between your devices.  This includes automatic photo uploads from your phone and PC which allows you to organize them better. It doesn’t come with any editing tools but does integrate with many third-party services.  Their professional plan is geared more towards small businesses than photographers.  

While Dropbox is considered one of the first cloud providers, it’s more expensive than some of the other options and has had several data breaches in the past several years. 

 

Dropbox Pros

  • Extensive file and folder organization
  • Easy to use
  • 2GB of free storage 
  • No limit on file sizes

Dropbox Cons

  • Expensive after you use up your free storage
  • No editing tools
  • Doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption
  • Previous data breaches

 

Dropbox Fun Fact: Drew Houston, the founder of Dropbox, had a habit of forgetting to bring USB drives with him.  After a particularly bad data loss where one of his hard drives crashed without a backup, he created his own personal server and wrote a program that let him access the server and its data from any location he wanted.  He called it Dropbox and released it to his fellow MIT students before going public with $1.2 million in funding.

 

Number 10:  Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud

 

Apple iCloud comes pre-installed on all Apple devices, so there are no downloads or set-up that is required.  As long as you’re logged into your iCloud account, you have seamless cloud storage, syncing, and backups across all your Apple devices.  This is a great choice for Apple loyalists.  Apple also offers bundles with several of their other products like Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade. 

 

Apple iCloud Pros

  • Competitive pricing
  • 5GB for free when you sign up
  • Seamless syncing across all Apple devices
  • Can handle RAW images

Apple iCloud Cons

  • No support for non-iOS devices
  • Free storage space fills up fast
  • Tops out at 2TB storage

 

Apple iCloud Fun Fact: Most people don’t realize that you can share your iCloud photo albums with people not on Apple devices.  Here’s how to do it from your iPhone:  Launch the photos app – Tap on albums tab –  Select the shared album you want to share to your non-apple friends and family – Tap on the edit button on the top (it’s got a circle and a + on it) –  Turn on the switch next to Public Website –  Tap on Share Link and then select the how you want to share from the share sheet.  (It also lists the URL of where people can see that album too)

 

*It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these affiliate links (which we receive payment for), but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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Best photo storage: solutions for any type of image

A large table of all colors of wood with photos arranged one after the other in the form of a table of memories.



Best cloud storage Amazon Photos provides the best photo storage solutions. Amazon Photos

For Amazon Prime members, take advantage of the free and unlimited cloud photo storage system that can declutter your phone and keep your memories safe.

Pros

The app can be set up to automatically save photos.

Cons

You’ll need a Prime account—but this also comes with perks of free two-day shipping and more.

Best HDD storage The Seagate Expansion 12TB External Hard Drive provides the best HDD storage. Seagate Expansion 12TB External Hard Drive

This 12 TB drive can store all your photo data, so images remain high-quality without any lost information.

Pros

Even with a massive amount of storage, this pick is compact and easily portable.

Cons

The writing speed may be slower than with other picks.

Best SSD storage The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is one of the best photo storage solutions when you’re on the road. SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

This ultra-portable pick is compact enough to take on any trip—and with 1 TB of storage to keep your favorite photos on-hand.

Pros

The hardware encryption software allows you to protect private information.

Cons

Make sure to format your drive before storing photos for optimal use.

We live in a time where everyone has a camera in their pocket and it’s never been more affordable to shoot digitally. Film photography is also making a big comeback and if you love shooting the more traditional way, it won’t be long until you end up with a backlog of negatives in addition to all your digital files. Shopping for the best photo storage solutions may not be as exciting as picking out a brand-new camera or fancy lens, but it’s really important. Getting your archives backed up and stored properly means you will be able to better enjoy those memories that you’re capturing for years to come.

Best Photo Storage: Digital Solutions

Whether you’re a digital shooter or a film shooter you should be storing your precious images in a few different ways. Every style of photographer should be utilizing some kind of cloud storage solution and an external hard drive to preserve their images. Why two? If you’ve been shooting for a long time, you know that there are two types of hard drives—one that has already failed and one that’s about to fail. Keeping your work in the cloud and on a physical drive means that your work is stored in two places. If one goes down, you’ve got the second place where you can restore the files. 

What’s more, cloud services can help you organize your archives with features like tagging and AI that will sort and categorize your images. Cloud services provide a low-cost way to store tons of digital files and because they live online, as long as you’re backing up consistently, you don’t have to worry about losing access to your files even if you can’t access your hard drive. 

For short-term storage, you should consider an SSD (solid-state drive). This style of drive is smaller than a traditional hard drive, more durable, and typically operates with much faster transfer speeds. Although we wouldn’t recommend an SSD drive for long-term, archival storage, it’s a great tool for quickly creating a duplicate of the images on your SD card while you’re on location before you back up to your HDD (hard disk drive) at home and whatever cloud service you may subscribe to. If you’re a photographer who has damaged a memory card (it happens!), you know how important it is to always be backing up.  

Analog Storage

If you’re primarily shooting film, in addition to using a cloud service and having a hard-drive backup, you’ll want to store your negatives and prints in an archival way to prevent them from getting damaged. 

Saving the negatives may seem like overkill—especially if you already have high-quality scans that are backed up in two places. But believe us, you should hold on to them! Here’s why. If you ever find yourself with access to a darkroom (they do still exist), having copies of your negatives means that you’ll be able to experience the true magic of film photography by making prints from those original pieces of film. Holding onto your negatives also means that you’ll be able to rescan at higher resolutions in the future. 

Make sure that you’re storing your negatives properly though to protect them from being damaged by moisture or getting scratched up. Negative sleeves are relatively inexpensive and provide your negatives with an added level of protection. Plus, they make it easy to examine what’s on a roll of film before you start scanning. 

Looking to store a bunch of old prints or family photos? Ditch the old shoe box and invest in an archival acid-free box to ensure that those pictures continue looking nice for years to come. 

Top pick overall: Amazon Photos

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you automatically have access to unlimited photo storage with Amazon Photos. This cloud service allows you to make minor adjustments to your images, auto tags photos based on image content, and can use facial recognition to automatically group images together. A feature called “Family Vault” lets you share specific images with friends or family members. Plus, the Amazon Photos app can be set to send you notifications about images that are stored in the cloud-based on the anniversaries of when images were taken. The app can also be set up to automatically back up everything on your smartphone’s camera roll—a big time saver when it comes to maintaining an archive. 

Runner up: Seagate Expansion 12TB External Hard Drive

A large-capacity hard drive is an excellent choice for having a tangible copy of whatever has been backed up to the cloud. The 12TB Seagate Expansion drive is compatible with Windows or Mac, has fast file transfers with USB 3.0, and even includes Rescue Data Recovery Services. Because of its generous storage space, it requires a power adapter to operate, meaning it’s best to store this one at home. But it’s a reliable choice for keeping a tangible copy of all of your digital files. 

Great storage for film: Print File 35-mm. Archival Negative Preservers

Film negatives are delicate and if you want them to last a long time you need to make sure you’re storing them properly. Print File’s Archival Negative Preservers are one of the most reliable choices for doing just that. The binder-size negative pages are made without PVC, which makes them archival-quality, and they’ll protect your negatives from dust, scratches, and fingerprints. Each sheet can hold up to 42 frames and allows photographers to make digital or traditional contact sheets without having to remove any negatives from the page.

Great storage for prints: HG Concepts Art Photo Storage Box

If your old family photos and negatives are sitting in dusty shoeboxes, do yourself a favor and upgrade to a photo-storage box. An acid-free archival storage box will keep your photo prints, negatives, and other important documents safe from the ravages of time. This box is made from sturdy board that won’t bend or dent, is bound in black-book cloth, and is lined with matte, black archival paper. It has a clamshell lid for easy access and comes in a variety of sizes. Plus, because it’s acid-free, you don’t have to worry about prints becoming discolored over time.

Also consider: SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

Solid State Drives are typically smaller and faster than a traditional external drive. They’re a great option for backing up and storing files when you’re using your camera away from your studio or office. This palm-sized 1TB-drive from SanDisk is one of our favorites. It has 1050MB/s read speeds and up to 1000MB/s writ speeds. It’s drop-resistant up to 2 meters, has an IP55 water-resistance rating, and is dust-resistant too. It uses a Type-C USB and has a carabiner loop so that you can easily secure it to your belt loop or attach it to your backpack when in transit.

FAQs

Q: What should I do with all my old photos?

If you haven’t already, we recommend scanning your old photos and backing them up to the cloud and an external hard drive before you do anything. If you want to hold onto the original prints and negatives, invest in an archival acid-free storage box to keep the prints from degrading over time.

Q: What is the best free photo organizer?

If you’re already an Amazon Prime user, you can store unlimited photos at any resolution through Amazon Photos. The service automatically sorts images based on content and can use facial-recognition features to sort your images by the people who appear in them.

Q: Should I keep negatives from old photos?

Even if you aren’t interested in working in a dark room, we highly recommend holding onto the negatives of your old photos. Keeping the negatives means that you can rescan at higher resolutions or print bigger versions of the photo down the line. Ultimately your original negative is the key to creating higher-resolution versions in the future. 

Final thoughts about photo-storage solutions

Whether you only shoot with your smartphone, regularly shoot digitally, or only on film, having a variety of ways to back up and store your images is one of the most important aspects of photography. We recommend utilizing multiple storage solutions in the digital and physical realms because, quite frankly, you can never have enough backups. Keep your memories safe by using a combination of cloud storage, hard-drive storage, and archival storage of your physical prints and negatives to preserve your images for years to come.

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SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet

SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet

SmugMug, a household name when it comes to online image hosting, has developed a new service called Source. Already known for their incredible functions in online display and sales of images, SmugMug is taking the next leap towards providing photographers with new, never-seen-before cloud storage and management service for next to nothing.

Although cloud storage is relatively new, many photographers already use it as backup or as easy access to their library of images. There are, of course, a few shortcomings that most popular cloud storage platforms have: very few are designed with the photographers in mind. None are designed to such a degree as SmugMug Source.

The reason I am so excited to preview SmugMug Source is that it is a new product that has a multitude of applications for every workflow and photographer while being very affordable and easy to integrate with what most people currently have. Let’s break down some exciting features SmugMug Source brings and how they can be applied in a potential professional photography workflow.

1. Supports Virtually Any Image File Type

SmugMug Source supports: .RAF, .RW2, .CR2, .NRW, .ARW, .NEF, .DNG, .SRF, .RAW, .DCR, .ORF, .CRW, .SRW, .CR3, .RWL, .X3F, .MRW, .IIQ, .PEF, .tif, .tiff

Everything from huge Phase One (.iiq) files to the simple .tiff can be processed by Source making this product relevant to any photographer shooting on a digital camera. While other cloud storage platforms can store these files, few can process them as well as SmugMug Source does.SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet 6

2. Processing

One unique feature of Source is that it can process photos on the fly. Process, as in edit? No, not quite. What it can do is upon import of raw files create a .jpeg for clients to preview. As an event photographer, I remember spending hours on end showing the files from my image-processing program to the client. This time now can be saved by uploading photos into SmugMug’s cloud storage. Upon upload, it will create a visual .jpg that can be immediately shown to the clients using SmugMug’s incredible photo-sharing possibilities such as client galleries. I know for a fact that when I was selling image by image to my clients, they often wanted to see the photos, but before that could be done, I was asked to select the best ones. Now, the whole gallery can be shown at once, which is both saving time on the photographer’s side as well as giving clients the full story. Moreover, this sharing feature allows for photographers to deliver photos at speeds unparalleled by anything else. Often, at large events, photographers must deliver images every few hours for social media and other online usage. In the past, this would mean dumping photos to two separate hard drives as well as a cloud storage service and exporting .jpgs at the end. Now, much of it can be saved.

3. Backup

Every photographer is scared of the day when the next drive will fail. Often, this is very unpredictable and annoying. But organizing a robust backup system that’s automated can be quite time-consuming. SmugMug Source eliminates the problem of forgetting to back up. The software will make a backup automatically when the hard drive is plugged in. It will “watch” your catalog of raw assets and upon any changes, update the backup on the SmugMug Source end. Additionally, this eliminates forgetting to upload. As a fashion photographer, I travel a lot, and there isn’t always great internet at every place I open the laptop. However, I rely on online galleries for my clients to be able to select the images they want. Furthermore, with Zoom entering the studio, I can now tether to my computer and automatically upload the files to the cloud of anyone on the team (editors, art directors, retouchers) to access.SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet 7

4.  Less Drives Required

As I said, I travel a lot. Most photographers have to travel at some point for assignments. Some of my friends spend less time in what they consider “home” than they do abroad. Traveling and shooting entail bringing loads of drives to store and back up photos on. However, there is never enough storage if you ask me. Going away for a few shoot days can take up loads of drive space, and if it’s a long project, that space becomes scarce very fast — too fast. SmugMug Source eliminates that problem for photographers by allowing them to store photos in the cloud. The only thing you need is an internet connection, and you’re good to go. When you arrive back at the office, you can simply download them back to your physical storage and edit them.SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet 8

5. Neat Needs-Based Pricing

Speaking of storage, the huge benefit of Source is that it is priced by need. Depending on the size of your project, you can pick to use up to 512 GB, up to 1 TB, and above. This is priced as so:

  • Starts at $3 per month for up to 512 GB of space.
  • Between 512 GB and 1TB will cost $5 per month.
  • Each additional TB above 1 TB will cost $5 per month.

SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet 9

6. Lightroom Integration

The final benefit that many photographers will appreciate is Lightroom integration. Being one of the most popular image-processing programs, Lightroom can be used in conjunction with SmugMug Source. Their original plugin has been used and loved by thousands of photographers, with Source taking it to the next level. Storing your raw files in the cloud doesn’t mean you can’t edit upload and sync your entire archive through Lightroom. Not only you can edit from the cloud, but also have the ability to keep your catalog nice and tidy by managing your raw files alongside the finished photographs.SmugMug Source Preview: Say Goodbye to NAS Servers and Hello to the Best Cloud Storage Yet 10

Overall, SmugMug Source is a fantastic cloud storage platform that does much more than just store files in the cloud. It integrates with Lightroom, makes hard drives redundant on trips, backs up in the background, supports most types of raw files, and ultimately allows for easy previews. This new service has certainly captured my interest. I will be exploring how I can integrate it into my professional fashion photography workflow, as it brings a lot of useful features that will make a lot of photographer’s lives easier. The possibilities are amplified when you take a look at SmugMug’s other services, which, among other things, allow you to beautifully share and sell photos online.

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Prime Day Photo Storage Deals

computer laptop photo storage hard drives

See our main Prime Day coverage here for PopPhoto and PopSci.

Buying camera gear is fun. New lenses can give you a unique perspective on the world and a fancy upgraded camera will give you options your work has never had before. Buying hard drives, however, feels like the opposite. It’s the electronics equivalent of buying a big bag of gym socks. Lack of thrills aside, backing up your work should be a regular part of your workflow, and Prime Day is a great time to add some capacity to your setup to replace those aging drives you’ve been relying on for too long now for some extra photo storage. Check out some of our Prime Day photo storage picks below.

Rugged drives

This Prime Day, Amazon is offering a selection of solid storage options that fit most photography and video storage needs. The classic Lacie drives with their aluminum bodies and bright orange bumpers have been staples in pro gear bags for years. This Prime Day, Amazon is offering a 2TB Seagate portable hard drive for $63. You can step all the way up to 4TB for just $94. With that much space, you can bring entire photo catalogs with you to edit in the field. 

If you need something even tougher than the Lacie Mini drives, the G-Tech ArmorATD All-Terrain Rugged Portable hard drive resists dust, rain, and 1,000 pounds of crushing force in case you’re photographing a K-pop supergroup in the jungle and they all stand on your hard drive for some reason. You get 4TB of storage with USB-C, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility for just $104. That extra transfer speed will come in handy because K-pop band doesn’t like to wait around for you to transfer files.

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Fast, roomy storage

If you don’t need your data to move around with you, Seagate’s massive 8 GB External HDD offers tons of room for just $164.99. The drive works with both PC and Mac computers and connects via USB 3.0 to your computer. It requires power directly from an outlet, so it’s not meant to travel, but it’s right at home on your desk, housing all of your backups. 

Portable Prime Day photo storage SSDs

SSD storage is much faster and more compact than a spinning hard drive. SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD comes in 1TB and 2TB storage options. They weigh less than three ounces each and they’re small enough to fit in that one tiny pocket on your backpack that you could never figure out what it was for. Their read and write speeds max out at 2,000 MB/s, which means you can edit video directly off of them without jamming up your computer’s built-in storage and slowing down your machine. 

You’ll find these little drives in the bags of many professional shooters, especially those who want to quickly back up work without having to sit and stare at a progress bar when they could be out getting more shots. 

If you don’t want to splurge on the faster, more rugged Sandisk versions, you can score Prime Day deals on Crucial portable SSDs, including a 1TB model for just $76. It’ll do just fine in your home or office environment, just don’t take it to the water park. 

Please check your backups

Even if you don’t buy any of the very solid deals above (you’d be a lot cooler if you did), take Prime Day as a chance to check on your backups. It’s like how setting your clocks forward and back is a nice reminder to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, which are also available as Prime Day deals

Remember, hard drives don’t last forever, so it’s worth checking on your backups every once in a while just to make sure everything is still there. Losing photos hurts. If you haven’t learned that the hard way yet, let’s try and keep it that way. And if you buy those new hard drives today for photo storage, you’ll have some leftover cash to buy workout socks, which, yes, are also available as part of Prime Day. 

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Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 11

If you’re a content creator in need of professional-grade storage drives, Western Digital’s newly unveiled SanDisk Professional line of premium storage solutions is just for you.

Professional photographers and creatives across a wide range of industries are always working with data that’s in a perpetual state of motion. Whether working with photos, high-resolution videos, or illustrations, creatives need to save, transfer, offload, share, and archive their data. The new SanDisk Professional family of purpose-built drives, launched at Western Digital’s Flash Perspective earlier this week, are designed to offer high performance and reliability for all of these things.

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 12

“As a professional photographer, one of my biggest concerns is being able to deliver assets as promised,” says adventure photographer and filmmaker Lucas Gilman. “When I am traveling the globe looking for the right shots, I heavily rely on the best equipment to help me get the job done.

“I’ve spent many years perfecting my workflow and am constantly looking for new ways to improve it, which is why I am so excited about the new SanDisk Professional brand. The new portfolio is all about managing content that is constantly in motion and I believe it’s going to be a real game-changer for all kinds of creative professionals around the world.”

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 13

The new SanDisk® Professional line combines the legacies of the world-renown SanDisk consumer brand as well as the pro-oriented G-Technology™ brand, which has been the storage choice of Hollywood professionals for decades. The SanDisk Professional lineup now comprises 16 modular workflow products. Here’s a rundown:

PRO-CINEMA CFExpress VPG400 Memory Card

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 14

The PRO-CINEMA CFExpress VPG400 is a rugged, pro-grade CFExpress card that allows for video recording at a minimum speed of 400MB/s*.

PRO-READER Devices

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Western Digital has announced four new PRO-READER devices that each pack a USB-C™ interface that allows for SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps data transfers. These drives are designed to support the most common camera media used for photographers and videographers, including CFast, CFExpress, RED MINI-MAG®, CF, microSD, and SD cards.

PRO-DOCK 4 Reader Docking Station

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 16

The PRO-DOCK 4 is a revolutionary new 4-bay reader docking station that provides a scalable solution for offloading data, especially when working with multiple cameras. The station allows creatives to simultaneously offload from four cards.

G-DRIVE™ Portable and Desktop Solutions

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 17

The G-Technology family of professional-grade products are now part of the SanDisk Professional stable. In addition to the existing line of ultra-rugged portable drives, desktop devices featuring Ultrastar® drives, and transportable RAID solutions, the SanDisk Professional portfolio also includes a new 4TB** G-DRIVE™ ArmorLock™ Encrypted NVMe™ SSD.

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Availability

The SanDisk Professional portfolio is expected to begin rolling out this June. For more information on pricing and availability, you can visit SanDiskProfessional.com.


*For transfer speeds, 1MB/s = 1 megabyte per second. Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending on host device, usage conditions, drive capacity and other factors.

**1TB = 1 trillion bytes. Actual user capacity may vary. For RAID products, storage is based on RAID 0 mode.


This article was brought to you by Western Digital.

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Western Digital Launches SanDisk Professional Brand of Storage Products

Photo of SanDisk Professional storage

Professional photographers and video-makers have a new company to turn to for their premium storage solutions. Well, it’s actually an old company with a slightly new name. Called SanDisk Professional, the new brand was launched by parent company Western Digital yesterday alongside an array of new products.

The new SanDisk Professional brand and new products combine the roots of SanDisk’s consumer brand and its professional-grade G-Technology brand to create a new group of storage solutions designed to meet the needs of pro photographers and cinematographers.

“From producing the latest blockbuster film to capturing the moment at a destination wedding to managing business-critical content, the powerful SanDisk Professional portfolio is designed to deliver scalable, high-performance, reliable solutions across industries globally,” Western Digital said in a press announcement yesterday.

“Professional content is in constant motion. Content that’s captured or created needs to be saved, transferred, off-loaded, shared and archived. SanDisk Professional offers a range of purpose-built tools to harmonize every step of that process.”

Photo of SanDisk professional family of products

Here are a few highlights of the new professional storage products that Western Digital introduced under the new SanDisk Professional name.

PRO-CINEMA CFexpress VPG400
An all-new professional-grade, rugged CFexpress card for videographers and cinematographers needing premium, uninterrupted performance.

PRO-READER Series
Four new PRO-READER devices that feature a USB-C interface that supports SuperSpeed USB 10Gbs.

PRO-DOCK 4
A unique new 4-bay reader docking station that can bridge capture and ingest with a scalable offloading solution that saves time and money on multi-camera productions.

G-DRIVE ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD 4TB
A new encrypted drive now comes in up to 4TB.

Of all the new SanDisk professional products, we think the PRO-READER card reader series might have the most appeal to professional photographers since they offer the increasingly common USB-C interface, which is used on Apple’s newer Mac computers including its MacBook Pro laptops, with SuperSpeed USB throughput at 10Gbs. The PRO-READER Multi Card from SanDisk Professional is the most versatile in the series with slots for CF, SD and MicroSD cards. For safely backing up and storing all your photos out in the field, the G-DRIVE ArmorLock SSD offers up to 4TB of storage. And with the ArmorLock technology, you don’t have to remember passwords; your smartphone serves as the key through your phone’s biometric authentication, which lets you access your content with the press of a button.

Learn more about all of these new SanDisk Professional storage solutions (and more) on the new SanDisk Professional website.

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Save 15% On Unlimited Photo Storage With SmugMug

Save 15% On Unlimited Photo Storage With SmugMug

If you want unlimited cloud storage for your photos at a single fixed price with incredible photo protection, SmugMug is that place for you.

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Offers

Photographers can currently save 15% when signing up* for a SmugMug account where you can access safe and secure unlimited photo storage.

Save 15% On Unlimited Photo Storage With SmugMug

All Smugmug plans come with hassle-free, no-strings-attached, unlimited photo storage for images that are up to 150MB in size. You can also organise images easily, upload photos automatically and SmugMug will never mine, sell, or share your data. Your photos are yours and yours alone, and you control who gets to see what with easy to use privacy settings.

The unlimited photo storage comes as part of a SmugMug plan, of which, there are four to choose from with prices ranging from $8 to $50 USD (before the 15% discount) a month with the basic plan offering:

  • Unlimited, full-resolution storage
  • A personalised photo website
  • Detailed privacy and security controls
  • Free desktop and mobile apps
  • 24/7 support from real humans

You can also start a 14-day free trial if you want to experience what SmugMug has to offer before signing up to a plan. 

For more information, click the button below. 

Save 15% With SmugMug* 

*It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these affiliate links (which we receive payment for), but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
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Amazon CA,
ebay UK

It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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A Greener, No-Subscription Solution to Storage? We Review Cubbit

A Greener, No-Subscription Solution to Storage? We Review Cubbit

Are you interested in exploring alternative cloud storage systems? In this review, we take a look at Cubbit and what its distributed cloud storage brings to the table.

Irrespective of what type of photography you do, finding the right storage system for you and your workflow is important. As the file sizes increase over time, so do the number of external drive and cloud storage options for you to choose from to house your important files and data. One such option is Cubbit, a new company and a cloud storage brand that claims to deliver a more secure, green storage option for its users, utilizing its, as the name suggests, equally geometric Cubbit Cells that connect directly to your router.

About Cubbit

Currently, having reached over $1,243,632 on an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, Cubbit is a cloud, similar to familiar services, like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and others, which allows you to store, sync, backup, and share files online. These files, stored in a data center, potentially located thousands of miles away, are then accessible from anywhere in the world using an internet connection, using a variety of devices, such as a phone, computer, iPad, and others.

Cubbit storage cell

However, the difference between Cubbit and other cloud services, as those mentioned above, is that Cubbit is a distributed cloud service, meaning it does not require a centralized data center, which is maintained and kept connected to the internet by companies, like Google. What this also means is that the data center is connected to the internet 24/7, consumes energy, and emits large amounts of CO2, which is a factor that many users, myself included, are not informed about nor take into consideration on daily basis because of that reason.

With Cubbit, files are stored in the network, which is made up of all the single Cubbit Cells, which are the physical units purchased by each service user. These cells then act as mini data centers, which contribute to the overall network. The files uploaded by users are then stored in the network, which is made up of these cells, which means this is a model based on collaboration between users and doesn’t rely on a large server farm owned by a multinational corporation.

There are several factors that Cubbit claims makes the company stand. Firstly, the absence of a large data center reduces CO2 pollution. Cubbit claims that its service emits 10 times less CO2 than larger companies that we are familiar with today. This is a factor that allows users to make an educated choice on the impact their file storage solution has on the environment.

Secondly, Cubbit achieves increased security to the user. As data centers are physical units, they are also at risk of being damaged due to accidents or any other adverse events. By comparison, data stored on Cubbit cells is distributed across the world, and to lose files, many cells would need to be simultaneously affected or damaged. If there was a blackout, the user’s cell goes offline or is physically damaged, such as in a house fire, the files are not affected because they are not stored in the cell.

Cubbit explains if there is a situation when 8 out of 12 cells are offline, “the Coordinator identifies reliable cells from those remaining, downloading the file shards available, recovering the missing parts and redistributing them in order to ‘heal’ the file. Since redundancy is performed on encrypted data, these “helper” cells don’t decrypt the file to rebuild it. Any online cell on the network can be selected to help, guaranteeing privacy and security as well as versatility and performance.”

Thirdly, files undergo encryption before they are uploaded. Cubbit explains that it doesn’t own nor does it have access to the data on cells because cells are peer-to-peer connected and user files don’t pass through Cubbit’s servers.

Each file you upload is encrypted with AES-256 algorithms and then split into dozens of chunks. These chunks are then distributed across the 3,000 cells worldwide with the cells performing the data storing and transferring.

And, last but not least, Cubbit, unlike most file storage products on the market today, doesn’t use a monthly fee subscription model. The user makes a flat payment when purchasing their cell; currently, the company offers a choice of 512 GB and 1 TB storage but has plans to introduce up to 4 TB expandable options.

At the time of publication, 512 GB of storage is reduced by a 40% discount to €289 ($350) and 1TB to €349 ($422).

First Impressions

If data storage and file encryption is not your forte, you are not alone. I have been a regular user of the more known storage solutions, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google for several years now, having chosen Google as my main storage, besides physical copies of external drives. 

When my Cubbit cell unit arrived, I connected it directly to our router, which unlocks the storage space on the Cubbit cloud and also simultaneously contributes to the network with its internal hard disk space. The packaging of the cell is very simple and recyclable, with an instruction manual found online to save on printing paper instructions.

Cubbit cell storage box

The cable that my unit came with was not quite as long as I would have liked to for storing it next to the router. Also, the cable came in black, which was too noticeable against a lighter wall, so I purchased a long white cable, which worked just fine. The unit itself is visually appealing, and I don’t mind it being displayed in our living room, because it looks like the part of modern smart devices that we are now used to seeing in people’s homes.

Although I was able to set up my unit very fast and with no issues on my end, the Cubbit team emailed me shortly thereafter to inform me that they are detecting some connectivity issues and would like me to troubleshoot my unit; otherwise, I won’t be able to contribute my storage to the Swarm, which is what the network of these cells is called. The issue wasn’t major and simply required me to unscrew the cover of the unit and to connect a cable that had fallen loose during transit. Straightaway, my unit was connected and I was able to make the most of its features.

Cubbit cell on a table

First, I downloaded a native app for my MacOS (also available on Windows and Linux) and also tried the browser version. When logged in on a browser, the Cubbit interface, also called Cubbit Hatch, is very similar to that of Google Drive, where users can click to upload files or simply drag and drop. You can also create folders. When uploading, the status of your upload is shown on the bottom right of the page. You can sort your files by name, size, or last changes made.

When it comes to using your files, you can click on individual files or the whole folder, and you can choose between downloading, sharing with others by inviting them to gain access to your file or folder, or you can create a public or private link. All of these functions are familiar to anyone who uses cloud storage, and it doesn’t require a lengthy learning process to start using your files right away. 

I didn’t encounter any issues downloading or uploading my files either as single downloads or in bulk; the usability of this service is exactly what you’d expect from cloud storage in regard to quick access to your files and simple navigation. Because I am changing my main computer device from macOS to Windows shortly, I did not set up a synced folder on my current device. The synced folders, similar to other cloud services, allows you to sync a chosen folder or folders on your device with your cloud storage.

Both the app and Cubbit Hatch will show you the amount of CO2 emissions saved by using their product to upload files, which is a handy visual reminder. I must admit, it has made me more aware of the impact that something like this — as simple as data storage that we take for granted nowadays — has on the environment around us.

Using a greener file storage solution won’t instantly make your photography environmentally friendly, especially if considering the harmful impact that camera brands have on the world around us, including handling of toxic chemicals and poor workers’ rights, but it’s a step that I found was simple to take on my behalf without giving up what I had been used to using in my business already.

What Could Be Improved

  • Because there is no way for me to personally evaluate the long-term impact of using this service, there are only a few minor things for me to point out, such as having to maintain the physical cell in your home to continue contributing to the swarm of cells. This means that you will need to factor in bringing it with you if you move permanently, however, if you’re on the go and travel regularly, the good thing is you don’t have to.
  • Using Hatch, the web browser app, although it displays the file size of each individual file, it doesn’t do it for folders. Personally, I would find it beneficial to see the folder size, too.
  • Although one flat fee for cloud storage, in my opinion, is a great alternative to primarily monthly or yearly subscription-based models on the market currently, I think having an option to pay it in two or three installments could prove to be a good choice for users who are willing to switch but can’t afford the whole payment and don’t want to use other credit options with interest. 

Cubbit cell on a table

What I Liked

  • Intuitive and simple interface that is familiar to most who already use well-known cloud storage brands.
  • Native app gives quick access to your storage information and latest uploads.
  • Cubbit is still developing its service with several great features on the way. For example, the company is currently working on an expandable storage option of up to 4 TB by plugging in an external hard drive, with information on the development yet to be released.
  • One flat fee for storing your files and reducing the amount of money that individuals and businesses spend monthly on a plethora of digital services that are integral to their workflow.
  • Cubbit offers a four-year warranty.
  • A reduced environmental impact is an important factor to many.

Final Thoughts

There is yet a lot to improve when it comes to reducing the environmental aspect of the type of work we do where we use various cloud services and purchase electrical equipment that contains many parts, leaving a long supply chain with its own issues, from chemicals to workers’ rights. For some, it may not be enough of a reason to convince them to switch from their current storage solution due to the time involved to move the data across; however, the addition of increased security and the one-off payment might be just what they’re looking for when it comes to a long-term solution for storing data.

I am interested to see what future features Cubbit brings out to improve their product even more, but personally, looking at what Cubbit offers today, I am happy to make that switch or at least do it partially. It would not be fair to assume that everyone is able to afford to purchase Cubbit storage today, even if they were willing to, because it is a small investment but an investment nevertheless, which, especially in a COVID-19 world, can be hard for many.

What do you think of using a distributed cloud network to store your files?

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