Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Can We Trust Bitcasa?

I finally received my invite to join Bitcasa. I couldn’t even remember that I had signed up for the beta. In fact, it has been so long since I signed up that I had to research them to make sure the invitation wasn’t a scam.

If you don’t already know, Bitcasa purports to be a service that will allow users to have unlimited storage space for anything you would save to your computer or mobile device. Their technology somehow allows you to “save” things to a folder or removable drive without limit. I put the word save in quotes because you are not actually saving anything to the folder or removable drive that you designate to use with Bitcasa.  When saving a file Bitcasa puts a shortcut that points to the file that is stored in Bitcasa’s cloud.

Initially this sounds fantastic. No more storage limitations. There is a giant problem though for users with terabytes of storage. For example, I have terabytes of photos, music, and videos. I currently store them on two Drobos with a total of 10 terabytes of capacity. If I wanted to use Bitcasa for these files it would take an enormous amount of time to move those to the cloud. Once it was fully synced to the cloud any new files that I add to those drives would not actually be saved to those drives. Instead it would salve them to the cloud directly and just put shortcuts where the files would normally be. Let’s say I add another terabyte worth of data over the course of a year but then want to leave Bitcasa. I’ll have to download all that data back to my computer and who knows how long that could take.

With services like Dropbox all your files are saved locally AND to the cloud. The storage is not unlimited but it is more distributed. If I choose to leave Dropbox today all I have to do is leave. All my files are already stored on multiple machines. There is no downloading necessary to access them.

The concept of Bitcasa sounds great. Unlimited storage for a small fee.The problem is trust. Do I trust them to be around a year from now? Do I trust them to not lose my data? I just feel very uneasy putting all my stuff in the cloud without a copy held locally too.