Why do we need hard drives if we can just store everything on the cloud?

292 views

Why do we need hard drives if we can just store everything on the cloud?

In: Technology

Ping times to your own computer are 0, you need some storage anyway just to hold an operating system, and if you have your own hard drive, you always have instant access to at least some files even without an internet connection.

Cloud storage is slow and expensive if you need to store large amounts of data, plus there is the risk you may not have an internet connection when you need to access data.

Hard drives are local, independent of an internet connection, and a relatively robust means of data storage.

The cloud, after all, is just someone else’s hard drive. It’s just a data center somewhere in the world with a lot of those hard drives that requires an internet connection to access, download, and upload your data. Sure it has security, backup power, and maintenance to ensure your data remains safe- but without that connection you’re cut off from it.

Because of this, local data storage with hard drives (or more likely SSDs as the price drops) will continue to be prevalent for local data storage by the average consumer.

Cloud Storage is useful because it is accessible from anywhere, but it is slow. In addition, you still need to copy that file locally to manipulate it unless you’re using specific online tools that integrate with that cloud storage.

* Because it would be nice if you could still get to your data even without internet access.
* Because local storage is always faster.
* Because you don’t need to cross your fingers and trust your files to a big company’s hard drives when you can just store them on your own hard drive.

Very large files are difficult to use on the cloud. If I am editing a video with 1 terabyte of raw footage, I would need insanely fast internet to do that with cloud storage

Bc the “cloud” is just access to another much larger hard drive…

All your data is not literally just floating around in air/space/ wifi transmissions. When you send something “to the cloud” you’re sending it to a larger data center full of hard drive storage…

The “cloud” isn’t real, it’s just someone else’s computer and hard drives

If you’re storing *a lot* then the cloud is good because they get a discount from buying sooo many hard drives that you don’t so it can be cheaper and more robust than providing tens of TB of storage yourself

But the cloud is far away and limited by your bandwidth. Even if you have Gigabit internet that’s still 20-50% as much bandwidth as a basic HDD provides so getting big files takes longer. Fast SSDs are capable of 50x as much bandwidth.

The time for anything to open also gets a lot longer pulling from the cloud, that’s why most providers also keep copies of recently accessed files on your hard drive to speed things up

You’re basically talking about an old-time computer terminal. That works fine when the storage is on a high-speed network in your building. Your data is still on hard drives, just hard drives in big racks, and you get a tiny slice of that.

But over the Internet? You have lag time between your terminal and the cloud computers. I just pinged [icloud.com](https://icloud.com) a bunch, and the best time to get a response back was 31 milliseconds, worst 87 milliseconds. Your computer constantly uses your storage, and it works as quickly as it does with response times a lot faster than that. Everything would slow down if your only storage was on the cloud.

And then there’s bandwidth. You’re expecting the average disk to give you data at well over 100 megabytes per second. Your cloud connection will give you a fraction of that even if you’re on a 1 Gb connection at home (which most of us don’t have).

There is a great statistic that goes something like this. If the time of a cpu instruction was scaled to 1s, the a cloud trip from ny to california was of the order of a number of centuries.

Latency is a thing.

“The cloud” isn’t really a thing, it’s just marketer-speak for “someone else’s computers”.

So “Google cloud storage” is a fancy way of saying “storage on Google’s computers”. And if you store any substantial amount of data on Google’s computers, they’re gonna want money for it. And then, since it’s on someone else’s computer, if you want to access it, you’re gonna have to go through the internet.

Meaning that, it’s usually easier to store it on your own computer, than it is to borrow someone else’s.

Because what would you do if the server goes down from overload, or your own internet goes down.