What Obstacles Are There To Storing Your Own Media In The Cloud: Step2 Startups Feedback Wanted

from the step2-startups dept

The latest in our Step2 Startups series is from QVIVO, a maker of home based media center/storage systems, who have added a cloud syncing system, and are wondering what the biggest obstacles are for people hosting their own media in the cloud. Is it a legal issue? Cultural? Technological? What would it take for you to be willing to make use of such a service?

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Companies: qvivo

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Comments on “What Obstacles Are There To Storing Your Own Media In The Cloud: Step2 Startups Feedback Wanted”

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John Fenderson (profile) says:

Trust & privacy/security

There are two problems that keep me as far as possible from third-party cloud services. Trust & privacy/security.

By “trust” I mean that I have at least as much reliability as I do on servers I own. This encompasses a number of different things, such as connection reliability, the provider’s internal reliability and uptime, and what happens if the provider goes out of the cloud business or I decide to stop using their services.

This is the easiest thing for cloud providers to address — although by no means easy, since none of them have met the benchmark of doing it better than I can yet.

The harder things are demonstrated by Megaupload and such: if the government decides to take the servers down in connection with something I have no connection with, I’m screwed. There’s nothing service providers can do about that.

Also, by “trust,” I have to trust the provider that they are honest with me, and that they are dutiful and competent about security issues.

Privacy/security is a far larger issue, and not one the cloud providers can really do much about. They can opt not to mine the data I store with them (and even then, I have to trust that they are as good as their word), they can use wonderful security measures (again, I have to trust them on this), and so forth.

However, any commercial providers must provide access to the data they hold to duly authorized government & industry entities. There’s no getting around that. Further, they may be restrained from even telling me that they have done so.

This is unacceptable. If I run my own cloud servers, at least I know when someone else has accessed my data.

So, all in all, I see no compelling reason now or in the future for using any third-party cloud server at all. The main problem is that the political and legal environment in which they have to operate inherently makes the services untrustworthy across the board.

If I really need the cloud, I can easily run my own servers with greater reliability and trustworthiness overall.

Yakko Warner (profile) says:

Infrastructure and ISP

In addition to the Trust issues brought up by John Fenderson above (Will they be there, with my data, tomorrow?), I am concerned with my ability to use such a service effectively.

First, bandwidth. Will I have enough bandwidth available so that using a cloud service is no different than using my own server? Will I be constantly buffering, because the bits are going through heavy congestion at some indeterminate point along their path? Will I be pounding my fist on my desk in frustration because I can’t access my files, because I’ve lost my connection to my ISP again (due to weather, network fault, user error, or something else out of my control)? This happened as recently as last weekend, when I was trying to watch some live streaming video program and my connection went dark for a solid ten minutes.

Second, ISPs and bandwidth caps. I came very close to my cap last month with over a week left in the month. I had to effectively shut down a lot of my internet usage. No Netflix, no YouTube, no Xbox Live. If I stored my own media “in the cloud”, I would have been cut off from that, too.

Third, if I want to take my media on the road (movies for the kids in the minivan, for example), I know I will not have a usable data connection everywhere I go. Free Wi-Fi is not universal; and even if I had a cell data plan for my vehicle (an expensive add-on), there are many dead spots that I drive through just around our neighborhood. It makes no sense for me to do anything but keep the media on my own computer, convert it to whatever portable format necessary to play in the car, and move it using my own physical cables and memory cards.

Now, in the brief description above, you call it a “cloud-based syncing system”, which to me means that media is stored locally, and the cloud is only used as a backup and service to sync with other devices. My first and third points aren’t as critical then, but the second point, ISP bandwidth caps, is a HUGE drawback.

Cynyr (profile) says:

Re: Infrastructure and ISP

Same boat, right now my server is hooked up my home network via gigabit and it streams bluray rips around the house. Any sort of network storage needs to have at least that much bandwidth for it to replace my home server.

That said, I am making heavy use of google play music. I uploaded my music(at 30kbps for the 30GB library mind you) and now stream it while at work to my phone(over wifi). There is no way it would work of the cell network, as i only have 5GB of useful bandwidth.

Anonymous Coward says:

To me the biggest problem is legal (as John Fenderson pointed out).

If I store my data somewhere I want my data to be held accountable under the country I live in and not the country the hosting provider happens to operate from.

Another method is using people’s passwords to actually encrypt all my data in the cloud in a way that never exposes the password to the cloud provider (ie: I upload and download it encrypted, decryption is performed client side).

Under those conditions I could be compelled to use the cloud more often, although the connectivity problem still remains.

MichaelG says:

My personal devices have more storage and more CPU every year. Yet there’s this constant appeal by businesses to centralize everything. Why?

Perhaps it’s just a solution in search of a problem. That has happened before.

Maybe industry leaders just aren’t happy with the idea of a peer to peer world of independent devices, because it kills the “broadcast” centralized distribution model which has been so lucrative.

Perhaps people just find their personal devices so complicated to use that they want to offload it all, and turn their PC back into a TV.

I can’t see the sense of doing this personally. When I can carry hundreds of gigabytes, who needs cloud storage?

Anonymous Coward says:

With government ready to swoop in and take down servers for any reason no matter where they are, the cloud is a bad gamble.Not to mention the bandwidth. But asking me believe a corporation and their line of BS.No thanks!
With storage so cheap my stuff stays local.I can still access it from wherever and whenever I want.
Only fools will trust their data to someone else!

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Technological mostly.

A few things would limit me from using this service to it’s full potential.

One, Reliable Internet connection. Verizon has been threatening to limit transfers to 50G a month. I can’t trust Verizon to allow me to use a service like this (let alone my cell provider T-Mobile).

Two, Compatibility. I’m only Windows and Android. They don’t support Android devices yet.

Three, Other options. XBMC, Boxee, Windows Media Center, MythTV, SageTV (if Google ever gets off their asses), and god only knows how many more all with a wide array of features and services.

Four, Legal issues on Qvivo’s side. While I assume they are using the same technique as Google to avoid legal issues, how long will that last? How long would I have a reliable off site backup? I can’t trust the MPAA/RIAA so I can’t depend on any service that they will target.

Five, Hardware requirements on their side. My media library is huge and with legitimate sites like Vodo and Revision3 (and an ever increasing number more), it’s only going to get larger. Spread that across a few thousand users and how long will it be before $4.99/m isn’t enough?

Now, despite all that, I’m off to play with it anyways. I love Google Music, and I’ve been waiting for someone to do this with video.

Nate says:


On the heels of the Megaupload fiasco I’d be worried that my legitimate files would become the property of some legal investigation because some 16 year old kid ripped a CD and uploaded the file to his media file. Next thing you know my wife can’t listen to her music and when my wife can’t listen her music then she gets angry. When my wife gets angry then she does rash things. This makes life for me very bad. I’m a fan of the cloud and use it for content that I create, but there’s to many issues with copyright for me to trust it right now.

velox says:

What about your own personal cloud

The main reason people would want to use cloud storage is the anywhere access it provides. The drawbacks are accurately discussed above.
So how many out there will be starting to add personal NAS drives to their home network? The price for a 2 Tb NAS drive complete with preloaded software for internet accessibility or sharing, either publicly or privately with password protection has fallen under $130. Even if you have DHCP rather than a fixed IP from your ISP, it’s still practical to use a NAS drive for personal use since most ISP’s aren’t changing your IP address frequently so long as your router, cable modem or computer are not rebooted.

mahonskey (profile) says:

Personal Pet Peeve

One thing that keeps me wired, so to speak, is the ease of accessing multiple types of data and programs from a single interface (my desktop). I loved the concept of the cloud, but it’s too convoluted: password for this, user name for that, which email address did I use for this account again? Would you like to sign in with Facebook? Sure that sounds convenient. Oh wait, you want to access all my private information, share it with third parties, and advertise your products on my wall… no thanks! With my computer it’s simple; Turn it on, type in my username and password once, and access everything from one platform. There needs to be some sort of universal gateway into the cloud so that I don’t ever have to see this again “Not a member? Click here sign up.”

wizened (profile) says:


John Fenderson did a great job of enumerating my objections to cloud storage. Out of that list I’d say that Megaupload has shown that you can’t trust the cloud because you can’t trust the government not to blow it up on a whim and at the bidding of their corporate masters. Secondly, ANYTHING that requires me to use Facebook for ID is out the window. That’s nonsense.

chris (profile) says:

the sheer size of my media collection

nothing would make me happier than to have an affordable offsite place to stash all my warez. i have well over a decade’s worth of media and even though i can just download it all over again, my collection represents a tremendous investment of time.

i can route around privacy and reliability concerns with block crypto for the sensitive stuff, and local copies for backup purposes.

i would love to have a copy of my NAS servers out there in the ether, off site, even if it was uber slow and really only meant it was useful for backups and not streaming.

the simple fact is that i have around 8TB of data, so even transfer in and out was free, at $0.05 per gig for storage, an online file locker would cost me $400 a month.

Anonymous Coward says:

the more people that use ‘the cloud’ or any form of on-line storage, the easier it is/will be for governments to see what people are up to. anyone that thinks there data is safe from ‘prying eyes’ is living in a dream world. it’s being made worse for people everywhere now with the potential introduction of so-called ‘cyber security’ laws by more and more governments, whereby every web site visit, message exchange, purchase/sale made and download/upload executed is to be logged by ISPs. privacy is all but a thing of the past, mainly due to a pathetic US industry that thinks it has the right to know exactly what everyone, everywhere is doing all the time!!

Anonymous Coward says:

My biggest concern is one of non-confidence in the current legal environment. As megaupload has shown us recently, people anywhere, but especially in the US, can cause the entire system to be brought down permanently as a result of someone elses data. The aftermath being i lose my data or have to get involved in an expensive legal war to maybe get it back. Why bother?

Dmitry M (profile) says:


The biggest concern is privacy. With the onslaught of invasive legislation there is good reason to believe that third party hosting companies will be much more willing to turn over everything I have on a simple request rather than fight for the protection of user privacy.

With Google Drive coming out to rival Dropbox and other storage services this issue is going to return to the spotlight. Interesting enough, in the case of Google and other bigger storage providers, there is an economic incentive to stand up for user rights. If users’ rights are forfeited too quickly, the latter will pursue legal action against Google creating a pretty hefty sum of legal fees. For Google, Dropbox, etc. it would make more financial sense to pick a fight with the DOJ than with the millions of users.

So, while I’m skeptical that the privacy concern will ever be resolved, I do have some hope in bigger storage companies when it comes to user rights.

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