odrive: the new universal sync app

Added on by odrive.

Replace that pile of outdated, proprietary sync clients

You don’t like having a cluttered pile of remote controls for all of your home’s devices, so why put up with it for your sync clients?

Image Credit: modified from redjar / Flickr Creative Commons

Image Credit: modified from redjar / Flickr Creative Commons

Each of them churns in the background, slowly eating up your computer’s CPU and memory. Each of them has limitations that you wish you could overcome. Wouldn’t it be great if you could uninstall all of them and just use one really good one for everything?

“Yes, it would, especially if…”

  • You could to connect to all of your storage sources, even multiple accounts with the same provider.
  • You were able to sync things that don’t even have a desktop sync client.Amazon DriveSlack, your FTP server… We’re here for you.
  • You could get additional superpowers they can’t give you, like zero-knowledge encryption or placeholder sync to save disk space…

Wait, you mean you can get a Dropbox client that’s better than the original? Sure, why not? We do love the Dropbox service, but we also understand if certain folks have particular concerns or use more cloud storage than just a single Dropbox.

If any of this sounds interesting, keep reading to learn more about what the odrive sync app can do for you.


Unified Access

odrive gives you desktop sync access to all of your files in the cloud under one login. If you have many storage accounts or multiple accounts from the same provider, we can help you manage your files easily. Each of your linked storage accounts appears as a folder in your odrive folder.

Link all of your storage accounts and let odrive keep everything in sync

Link all of your storage accounts and let odrive keep everything in sync

So go ahead, uninstall the other clients and just use odrive to sync everything.


Fast, Reliable, Proven Sync

The core odrive sync technology has gone through several generations of development as well as multiple years of battle testing and hardening (dating back to our days of providing sync for enterprise customers). Multitudes of free users and paid customers alike have put our product through the use cases that matter to them. We aren’t perfect, but this is the main thing we do, and we do it quite well.

Large Files Support: We’ve even gone a step further by letting you overcome problems uploading large files to your individual providers. Some storage has file size limits, and some storage providers’ clients simply don’t perform well with choppy connections (attempting to upload your file over and over againad infinitum).

Don’t just take our word for it… (see more)

Don’t just take our word for it… (see more)


Sync Anything

odrive can sync…

  • All major cloud storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
  • Other cloud storage that lacks real-time desktop sync, including Amazon Drive, OpenDrive, ADrive, Yandex Disk, and 4Shared.
  • Enterprise cloud storage such as Box, OneDrive for Business, and Oracle Documents Cloud.
  • Cloud applications with files, including Slack, HipChat, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail.
  • Utility storage such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, and B2.
  • Any file server or service that supports FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV.

(and the list is always growing… Check our website for the current list!)


Placeholder Sync to Save Disk Space

Do you have so much data in the cloud that to keep it all downloaded on your computer would eat up all of its disk space?

Get placeholder sync so that you can turn files on your computer into placeholder file stubs that don’t take up any space. If you need to access a file again, it’s available in the cloud whenever you want.

Placeholder files don’t take up any disk space until you double-click to download it, turning it into a real file again.

Placeholder files don’t take up any disk space until you double-click to download it, turning it into a real file again.

This way you’re not trying to download all changes all the time unless you are actively interested in the file on that computer. Save your disk space and bandwidth. Freely download and then unsync files inline within Finder or Windows Explorer — this is an improvement over existing selective sync offerings from Google or Dropbox which don’t have placeholder files to show you what’s there.


Create Direct Sync Relationships

Sometimes you want to leave your files in a particular folder on your computer and have it sync to your linked storage (without having to drag files into your odrive folder from time to time).

This can be the case if:

  • You have applications running which automatically deposit files in a particular location, and you want to leave your files there.
  • You want to sync your Downloads folders to your storage and have all of your machines sync with it so you have a common Downloads folder.

Just set up a direct sync relationship using odrive and you’re set.

Sync folders outside of your odrive folder. Choose any folder on your computer to sync with any folder on any storage you’ve linked to odrive.

Sync folders outside of your odrive folder. Choose any folder on your computer to sync with any folder on any storage you’ve linked to odrive.


And More...

There are other great reasons to try out odrive on top of all the sync benefits mentioned above. Here some additional things you can do:

  • Protect your files with zero-knowledge encryption
  • Share storage collaboratively with another odrive user
  • Share weblinks to files and folders with anyone (optionally password protected with expiration date)
  • Use the Linux agent for your Raspberry Pi or your server virtual machine environments
  • Write scripts against our command line interface for automating tasks on Windows or Mac.
  • Configure bandwidth throttling, auto-unsync, auto-trash, and other convenience settings to customize your experience.

Plus, we’re working on a lot of new things. Easy backup, features for groups & organizations, enhancements to encryption, mobile clients… We’ve got a lot lined up for what’s sure to be an exciting year for us.


Level Up Your Sync Experience with odrive

Hopefully, I’ve been able to convince you that you need to try odrive. Existing sync clients are proprietary, outdated, and losing their individual relevance. The storage services themselves are still quite effective, but you can have a much better experience with a replacement sync app.

Whether you’re a next-generation storage polyvore or an unsatisfied user of a single provider’s proprietary sync app… get odrive today and see how we can change the way you work with your files!

Image Credit: original T-Rex graphic from clipartlord.com

Image Credit: original T-Rex graphic from clipartlord.com

The Business of Sync

Added on by odrive.

A case study in making cloud storage efficient for business

Businesses use cloud storage to share effortlessly, across networks, machines and organizations. Teams use cloud storage to collaborate on projects internally and with clients, vendors and partners. Lots and lots of files are being generated in the cloud and stored in the cloud.

If you use cloud storage for your business, you have been stuck with 3 choices:

1. Sync everything to your desktop

If you sync everything to your desktop, then you quickly find out that you will run out of disk space sooner than later. You may have 250 GBs of stuff in the cloud but you likely don’t have 250 GBs of effective storage inside your computer. As your computer disk storage is exhausted, your computer slows to a crawl, and work comes to a standstill. Dropbox is often associated with a sync-everything model.

2. Pre-select some folders to sync to your desktop

If your cloud storage — like Google Drive — allows you to selectively sync certain folders, then it leads to a poor user experience as it requires you to pre-declare what folders to sync and do it from a web interface, as opposed to the file system. It requires high coordination, and omniscient grasp of your file content and organization. Lots of back and forth between the web and the desktop file system. Very clunky and inefficient.

3. Download/upload via web browser

If your cloud storage does not have a sync client then you must access your files through a web browser. You must download and upload from the web; you must save the files to your file system; different versions are created. It is sub-optimal for business productivity. By all accounts, this is decidedly the worst choice. A popular cloud storage that does not offer its own sync client is Amazon Drive.

All three choices are bad for business.

There is a new choice for business to use cloud storage without limits and without compromises.

Infinite Sync from odrive

Businesses need better sync

I’ve written about the virtues — and problems — of sync in Sync Differently.

Sync gives you access to your files from your file system (Windows Explorer or Mac Finder), and allows you to work seamlessly with the cloud. It is a vastly superior experience than uploading and downloading files from a web browser.

Sync — the traditional kind— is great only for a short while and for a small content set. It’s not so great when you start ingesting and using a lot of files.

That pain is not felt when you are only sharing some files. The pain is felt when you start using cloud storage for storing everything which is what you’re inclined to do when cloud storage is cheap, plentiful and unlimited.

The laws of physics dictate that files take time to travel from there — the cloud — to here — your computer — and back there. When there are a lot of files to sync, the laws of physics will coalesce and put a beatdown on your use of cloud storage until it feels like your computer has caught the worst flu, with symptoms of slow, lethargic and unable to take down anymore files.

That pain is intensified when you’re a business. It’s pain, on a greater scale. It’s pain that has repercussions on the bottom line.

Businesses have to optimize computer performance and maximize productivity. They cannot afford to upgrade the storage on company laptops only to see computer disk storage getting maxed out yet again. There has to be a better way.

Infinite Sync makes it better for business

Businesses and their teams can now have sync access to all their content in the cloud — no matter how voluminous — at their desktop fingertips — no matter the size of their computer disk storage.

This is why Roaming Hunger purchased odrive Premium for the Experiential Marketing Agency arm of the company.


Roaming Hunger (http://roaminghunger.com/) is the leading service provider for finding and hiring food trucks. Andrew heads the Agency unit, which leverages the food truck network to provide mobile marketing for clients big and small. He previously held similar brand and content marketing roles at startups and advertising agencies.

At Roaming Hunger, the Agency unit consists of designers, production and account members who all work with large files and store them in Dropbox. However, he knew from his prior jobs that access to files and productivity were going to face inevitable limits. Computer disk space will run out.

His team works on many different projects at any one time. They work with many large files that must be local while worked on. Quite simply, he needed a solution that enabled his team to have their very large files local as needed and removed when done, as part of a routine workflow.

odrive’s Infinite Sync enabled his team to sync down the right files as needed and on demand for any handful of projects. When a project is completed, an entire project folder is Unsync’d, and voila, computer disk storage is reclaimed. And then, onto the next project, and so on and on.

Andrew made the right choice to keep his team truckin’ along and not get bogged down by cloud storage.


Business lesson? It’s easier to upgrade your cloud storage than it is to upgrade laptops for your entire team.

See for yourself how odrive can help your business run without limits.

What is life like when all your files are in the cloud?

Added on by odrive.

Efficient. Productive. Relaxed. Stress-free…

I’m the IT guy of my extended family. I worry about getting the photos off our phones and cameras, where to store them, and how to share them. I tirelessly organize our financial documents, health records, credit card statements, and other files… thankfully it’s all electronic these days so I can skip the scanner.

A year ago, if a blazing fire were to have broken out in my house and my family members could have grabbed only one thing to save, my daughter would have grabbed her favorite stuffed animal. My wife would have reached for her purse and made it to safety. I probably would have died of smoke inhalation disconnecting our NAS, tucking away our USB sticks and drives, and grabbing our laptops.

It’s like watching an episode of Hoarders and realizing I have a very bad problem. (But a fixable problem, at least).

These days, I’m a lot more laid back now that my files are in the cloud. Here are some reasons why.


No more hunting for photos on physical media

“Hey, do you know where that photo is of my cousin and I on our trip last year?”

Those are the words that used to precede a chaotic flurry of searching laptop hard drives, my NAS, USB sticks, memory cards, Facebook, and cloud storage to find that one file for some project that’s bound to be underappreciated by the recipient in the end.

But now at least the file is in the cloud… I still have to find it, but it’s much easier. (And if I would have been willing to use Google+ for my photos, I could have used their visual image search capability to make it even easier).

Google+ Photo Search… it’s, uh, scary impressive. And useful.

Google+ Photo Search… it’s, uh, scary impressive. And useful.


No more buying storage hardware

Drop $300 for a 5-bay NAS. Set it up. Buy disks. Replace case fan. Replace disks as they go out. Buy newer, bigger disks as my storage needs increase. Rinse. Repeat. (Well, I certainly hope you never have to buy yet another NAS).

Buy USB drive, backup stuff from my computer… now I have multiple copies to manage and run into the physical media sprawl mentioned earlier. Rinse. Repeat. See therapist. Take anti-depression meds.

It’s actually easier and cheaper to outsource this to a cloud storage provider. Even the $300 NAS without disks could be 5 years of $60/year Amazon Drive storage. Physical storage is going out of style… there’s a reason why the best laptops these days can be sold without DVD drives on them anymore. The internet rules. And by extension, cloud storage rules.


Sharing files becomes natural

It’s important to remember that physical media can suffer from hardware failure or be lost, too. USB sticks and SD cards, in particular, get misplaced, stolen, or traded around until nobody remembers who has it. Who wants to manage multiple copies of things on physical media? With cloud storage, I can share with weblinks, or even share storage collaboratively if you have the right tools. This is the natural way to share files — instantaneous and simple.


No more lugging my briefcase and laptop around

I used to drag along a laptop bag to bring my work laptop home from the office every night. I don’t anymore. All the files I need are in the cloud… OneDrive has my MS Word and Excel docs, and GitHub has the code I need to access. So I can leave the machinery at work and still be able to work on things from my computer at home. And I can access it all from my mobile device in a pinch.

Bonus: if you are leveraging cloud computing as well, your company can be light-weight and mobile as well. My company did just that:


Desktop sync minimizes downtime effects (read: stress)

Do I ever worry that the back-end service will become unavailable right when I need it? Yes, of course. It’s my job to worry. But desktop sync has my back. I can work on changes even if I hop onto a plane or if the back-end cloud storage service goes down for a little bit.

Bonus: with odrive, I can also unsync files I don’t care about to turn them into placeholder files that don’t take up disk space. This is nice because I have more content in the cloud than I do hard disk space, so there’s no way I can have everything fully synchronized all the time.


Zero-knowledge encryption ensures that hackers can’t hack

Nothing is really safe anymore. Everything must be encrypted, and you must control your own keys. I’ll admit I don’t care about hackers getting into a lot of the stuff I have in the cloud (e.g. photos, files from various personal projects, etc.) as long as they leave it alone.

I do care about things that have social security numbers and other private data, though. And for those things, I’d feel safe only if I had a zero-knowledge encryption solution handy (e.g. odrive) for that set of important files.

Zero Knowledge Encryption: encryption keys are safe when they are in your head, not your storage provider’s servers.

Zero Knowledge Encryption: encryption keys are safe when they are in your head, not your storage provider’s servers.

But in reality, if encryption was something that was so seamless I could take it for granted, I’d say screw it and just encrypt everything, even the stuff I cared less about. Why not? Might as well keep all the curtains closed. That’s something that is part of the odrive vision, too. It’s right around the corner…


So go ahead, take a load off and relax.

Get your files into the cloud and stop worrying about your files. And your family’s files or company files. Then kick your feet back and enjoy some peace and comfort, finally.

There are better things to do with your time and energy

There are better things to do with your time and energy


And while you’re at it, take a look at how odrive can further transform your cloud storage experience even more… odrive isn’t a cloud storage provider itself, but we offer a way to unleash the full benefits of the cloud with whatever existing cloud storage you own.

  • Consolidate access to all your storage under one login
  • Get infinite, flexible sync to everything (even sources like Amazon Drive which don’t have a sync client)
  • Protect your files through strong, zero-knowledge encryption

The cloud can indeed change everyday lives!


Originally posted to our medium publication.  Follow us on medium to get the latest updates from us like this one!

Businesses Need to Fully Embrace Cloud Storage

Added on by odrive.

Cloud Adoption Is Not a Never-ending Story

There are soooo many good reasons to move your company’s files to the cloud. Cost reduction is the obvious one. No more hardware to manage or replace, no hardware admins to manage them. Turn your CapEx into OpEx. Let someone else worry about availability and access reliability. Make executing on your mobility strategy less of a hassle.

The cloud exists so that your storage resources can easily and elastically grow with your business needs. The requisite infrastructure-level technology is already here, and the opportunity to improve productivity while decreasing costs is too big to ignore.

But is practical implementation of a full cloud storage strategy really a pipe dream? Is it a neverending story or nightmare that businesses will get mired into?

The NeverEnding Story (Warner Bros. Pictures). Image Credit: mentalfloss.com

The NeverEnding Story (Warner Bros. Pictures). Image Credit: mentalfloss.com

We certainly hope not!

Instead of accepting defeat and being resigned to suboptimal solutions, there is an opportunity to attack the problems of today with solutions of today. If you’re thinking about moving your business to the cloud, please consider these points before making compromises that don’t need to be made. Go full cloud.


Don’t Settle for Hybrid Cloud

There are a lot of people pushing for Hybrid Cloud solutions these days, touting a supposedly obvious compromise… a “best of both worlds” solution (which actually just incorporates the costs of both worlds).

EMC and NetApp have certainly invested a lot into hybrid cloud solutions. A natural conclusion for on-premise providers whose turf is about to get trampled by the cloud armada. Surprisingly, you even have cloud-oriented companies like Microsoft going backwards into hybrid cloud territory. There’s a market there right now because companies feel like they cannot fully commit to the cloud.

However, many companies don’t realize they are settling for hybrid cloud only because of technological limitations that are largely going by the wayside. Much like how full electric cars will kill hybrid cars once technology develops more (e.g. longer range to relieve range anxiety, availability of charging network, etc.), the era of Hybrid Cloud has limited run. Once you have generally solved the range problem, then it’s better to do away with a car that has two powertrains — the additional crutch unnecessarily adds weight, takes up space, has more moving parts that can break, and increases engineering/manufacturing costs.

The Tesla Model S (Image Credit: https://www.teslamotors.com/models)

The Tesla Model S (Image Credit: https://www.teslamotors.com/models)

If you’re worried about security, bandwidth performance (LAN speed vs. WAN speed), or geographic data sovereignty, these problems are largely solved or mitigated enough by zero-knowledge encryption, intelligent sync solutions, and localized availability zone cloud storage. These don’t have to be reasons to compromise for normal file storage business use cases.


Stop Applying Obsolete Storage Models to Cloud Storage

Why does everything need to be on one storage endpoint? Why do people insist on looking for a holy grail of storage that may not exist?

James Casey, VP of Partner Engineering at Chef mentions that inter-clouding is something that will become more prevalent as companies multiple storage providers to meet the diverse needs of a business. This could mean that companies could “be in at least two clouds, maybe more”.

I wholeheartedly agree. Fortunately, the “scattered cloud” phenomena is a problem that can be dealt with. “One destination for everything” doesn’t have to mean one singular storage cloud. A better solution would be able to consolidate access to several clouds (much like an email client can tap into different email servers).

You don’t need to choose just one. You just need meaningful, unified access to them.

You don’t need to choose just one. You just need meaningful, unified access to them.

Yes, we should acknowledge that fragmentation is a problem that is here to stay… data originates in different places, companies acquire other companies, different sets of users have different requirements, etc. But let’s not stop there — it doesn’t have to be a roadblock.


Protect Yourself

These days, it seems as if anyone and everyone is getting hacked. You can’t trust people in your own company, employees of your storage provider, and certainly not the wild west of the internet.

Make sure that what’s in the cloud is protected. But also give deep thought into how you can protect end-user devices in case laptops, tablets, and phones get lost or stolen. What level of risk can you afford, and how much can you rely on device hardware or operating systems to protect your data?

Also, while encryption is largely the solution for your security and compliance concerns, you need an implementation that is so seamless that your users won’t get confused. Totally seamless, zero-knowledge encryption that you take for granted is the only path out of the woods. You must control your keys.

Sure, computing power will continue to progress such that some day brute-force attacking an AES-256 encryption key will become possible. (Today, you’d have to wait a very, very, very long time). But most likely the information you’re encrypting will have outlived you and its relevancy.


So Where Does This Leave Us?

Your business can go full cloud. There is a movement afoot, and the businesses that are able to adopt a cloud storage strategy effectively will be at a distinct advantage over those that can’t. Right now there are additional pain points to be solved, for sure, but you can do it if you have the right big picture view of what you need to do. And even though it’s early, the tipping point is right around the corner where everyone will be able to easily ditch their expensive private storage infrastructure.

Companies like Dropbox, Box, and Google have been trying to help businesses overcome transitional costs of getting everything into the cloud. It’s true that every step along the way, from planning your strategy to picking the right provider(s), to data migration, to roll-out, to supporting your users can be stumbling block. Storage providers are making progress and will contribute to the narrative.

My company, www.odrive.com, has been making the transition easier for consumers, solving problems that consumers and small business owners encounter in their individual journeys to the cloud. Smarter ways to sync files, zero-knowledge encryption, easy migration, consolidation of scattered files across multiple devices and clouds… do these solutions to cloud adoption issues sound familiar?

We’re laying the groundwork to provide packaged solutions for business organizations to enjoy these benefits, too, so we can add the final piece to the puzzle. We should know — we have years of prior enterprise cloud storage experience built into our DNA, so we’ve always had the end in mind.

Stayed tuned to our Becoming odrive medium publication for more information about how odrive can help you get your business fully into the cloud!

A Designer’s Gift from the Cloud Storage Gods

Added on by Aric Johnson.

No need to worry about disk space anymore

If you’re a designer or creative who relies on cloud storage heavily, it’s likely you’ve run out of space on your computer hard disk at least once in your career. You use cloud because it’s awesome for redundancy and sharing, but you never expected it to take up so much space.

And let’s face it, disk real estate is in high demand. Your 2012 Homepage video isn’t nearly as important as the video you’re putting final touches on tonight and delivering to your client tomorrow.

"Recency almost always decides what files are hot or not."

I feel your pain.

I’m the designer/marketing/video person here at odrive. I probably produce more files by myself in a given week than our entire company combined. Working on everything from large video projects to the smallest of icon designs and web mockups — it adds up quickly.

But I use odrive — a designer’s gift from the cloud storage Gods — and it’s been a complete game changer for me and my productivity. Here we go…

Save Tons of Space With Unsync

Ina perfect world, you could offload all the files and projects you don’t need from your computer. They stay safe in the cloud, you can get them on-the-fly if you needed them, and you wouldn’t have to sync the entire folder just to get one file. That’s exactly what odrive Unsync does for you.

Relax Mac folks — there’s a bit of Photoshop magic for a more stark contrast. But this is really the ratio of cloud stuff to system and application stuff on my hard drive— and it’s all because of Unsync.

Every time I work on something I save it directly to my odrive which points to a company Amazon S3 bucket. As I continue to work on the files, my edits get synced to the cloud. When I finish that project and no longer need it, I unsync the whole folder from my computer and reclaim the space. The folder gets replaced with a placeholder file, which I’ll get to in a second.

Unsyncing files & folders removes them from your HD but keeps them safe in the cloud

Unsyncing files & folders removes them from your HD but keeps them safe in the cloud

If I need a file that I’ve unsynced, I just double-click its placeholder file and it automatically re-syncs and is available for me to use.

Since odrive is all about improving the way you currently use cloud storage, we’ve added the ability to set a universal unsync policy as well. For example, you can have odrive automatically unsync files that haven’t been edited in over a week.


Use Placeholder Files and Folders

Last time I checked, the point of cloud storage is to store stuff in the cloud. So why does it need to take up all my disk space, too. This problem escalates the second my cloud storage becomes larger than the free space on my hard drive and my old projects continue to add up.

odrive is designed to minimize the amount of space that cloud storage consumes on a local disk without sacrificing accessibility.

Placeholder files and folders show me everything in my storage without taking up any space — that is until I decide I want that file. Files I create and later unsync, get a recognizable pink tab when they turn to placeholder files.

Sync is fully customizable so you can set policies based on file sizes. Maybe you like having all your small documents automatically sync, but you want to avoid downloading any huge videos. The auto download limit, when browsing your existing files in the cloud, lets you decide the maximum size of files you’d like to sync automatically and excludes any files that are larger.

I prefer to use the “Never download” setting. It very literally translates into me being able to browse all my files and folders as placeholders. I find the file I need and sync it. Only it.

Setting “Never Download” allows you to look through all your files and folders without taking up any HD space.

Setting “Never Download” allows you to look through all your files and folders without taking up any HD space.

The auto download limit is especially awesome in shared storage environments. If Jeff and I share a Dropbox folder and he uploads a gigantic 10GB video file into it, I have to spend the bandwidth and disk space to download a huge file that isn’t relevant to me. With odrive, I would only see the placeholder file and not pay the cost of space and bandwidth. Pretty useful.

Link Multiple Accounts from Same Service

Now even though I have dedicated storage for my company stuff, if you’re like me you still have lots of different accounts, some using the same service. For example, I have a personal Google account, a work account, and I also share an account for a non-profit group I volunteer for. Instead of logging in and out to access your Google Drives via their desktop app, I link all my accounts to my odrive and access them all as single folders inside of my odrive desktop folder.

Now I can work on everything immediately from one place. Mix in placeholders and unsync to multi-account access and you’ve got a fully customizable, cloud dominating arsenal.

The Result: Save space, stress less

With odrive, you can finally use cloud storage the way it was meant to be used — as storage! And you’ll never run out of local disk space again. The best part is that you have full control over the amount of space your cloud consumes. So whether you’ve got thousands of PSDs or hundreds of gigantic movie projects, with odrive you’re all good — all the files you need, nothing you don’t.

odrive isn’t just a one trick pony, so it does a lot more than just save you space. It’s an all-inclusive cloud storage tool kit, so we’ve got even more to offer :

  • Share your own storage with others
  • Encryption for any file on any storage
  • Backup external storage to the cloud (to come)

Come create an account and test drive all that odrive has to offer.

It’s Time to Reimagine How to Store Files

Added on by odrive.

Existing physical and cloud storage are not good enough

Everyone’s got important files… (Image: The Force Awakens, Disney)

Everyone’s got important files… (Image: The Force Awakens, Disney)

Files. They’ve been with us since the dawn of civilization and man’s first clumsy attempts at recorded communications.

Today we have files at work and files at home. Photos, word documents, billing statements, PDFs, and more. We can’t get away from them — they are so ridiculously useful as a portable unit of information.

But we need some way of managing them. We need to organize, share, and protect them. And to tuck them in at night, cuddle with them, and whisper words of comfort into their ears.

Sure, we’ve come a long way since prehistoric times, but it looks like a lot of the limitations we’ve lived with are still the same. Why should we put up with that? How can we truly reimagine the storage experience?

Let’s see if we can learn a little bit from the past.


The bad ol’ days of physical storage

Ancient Sumerian files. Heavy stuff.

Ancient Sumerian files. Heavy stuff.

It took several millennia for humanity to stop messing around with cave drawings, cuneiform tablets, scroll cases, and codices. We graduated to more sophisticated-looking versions of these things: manila folders, filing cabinets, book shelves. Graffiti. Trapper Keepers. That box of random papers in the corner of your bedroom with credit card statements from 2004. Not cool.

It’s basically still the same old thing. Physical document storage… insecure, vulnerable to destruction, and an unwieldy pain in the butt.


Better, faster, cheaper. Still limited.

The invention of record players, magnetic tape drives, cassette tapes, VCR tapes, floppy disks, and CD-RWs brought more interesting possibilities. Data was suddenly more portable. You could copy it more easily. But it was still subject to access issues. You needed to have the physical media present with you. You still worried about theft, loss, destruction, and degradation. You had to make copies of media in order to share it. It was frustratingly difficult to keep organized.

The 90s brought these relics… recognize these?

iomega Zip and Jaz drives. Don’t laugh, they were awesome, briefly.

iomega Zip and Jaz drives. Don’t laugh, they were awesome, briefly.

You might be chuckling, but honestly, are the things we’ve replaced them with really THAT much better conceptually?

The USB replacements… hits closer to home now, doesn’t it?

The USB replacements… hits closer to home now, doesn’t it?

They’re smaller, faster, and are higher capacity, for sure. But they’re just better versions of records, tapes, and floppy disks. Still flawed, still hard to access and organize, and still prone to hardware failure. (Who’s ever made a backup of a backup before?)


A connected world

Here’s where things start to get interesting.

Back in the day, FTP was “great” for smaller files (and knowledgeable users) as a primitive internet-based technology for storing and sharing files. But it was way too slow, limited and clunky.

A Drobo FS 5-bay NAS. Yup, I’ve still got one of those.

A Drobo FS 5-bay NAS. Yup, I’ve still got one of those.

NAS helped fill the gap by making it easier to store, access, and transfer your files while you were in the local network. You could even share files and set up permissions with people in your household or small business. But what about when you left the building? What about dealing with high costs of ownership (failed disks, constantly needing to expand capacity, etc.)? Who would want to maintain physical hardware themselves when someone else could do it better and more cheaply?

Ubiquitous cloud storage. Something for everybody.

Ubiquitous cloud storage. Something for everybody.

Faster internet and Dropbox ushered in the era of affordable Cloud Storage with promises of anytime, anywhere access. Elasticity and scalability. Redundancy for guaranteed availability and protection against hardware failure. Application layer capabilities like sharing, file comments, versioning, and more. Yes, cloud storage IS truly awesome, and we believe in it.

But unfortunately for most people, problems kept lurking under the surface...

  • “How do I get ALL of my files into the cloud? How do I live and work in the cloud?”
  • “What happens when my cloud storage provider goes out of business?”(RIP, Copy.com)
  • “How do I keep my cloud storage provider from viewing my files?”
  • “What if I have multiple storage accounts?”
  • “What if I have multiple storage accounts from the same provider?”


A reimagined world

Another remake of the same movie isn’t enough. If we were to reimagine what storage should be like, we wouldn’t want any of those old limitations. The tenets of new storage would be:

  • Everyone should be able to fully adopt cloud storage, actually taking advantage of low cost, unlimited storage. Moving everything into the cloud shouldn’t be such a struggle.
  • Nobody should be tied to a single cloud storage provider. We should be free to pick and choose which providers we want, mixing and matching according to our needs.
  • It should be convenient to access any cloud storage that we have by going to one place.
  • We should be able to consume our files from any of our devices whenever we want.
  • We should all feel safe about the files we put into the cloud.

But the world at large is stuck in the past era of storage. We have scattered cloud storage accounts. We cling to our physical media as well — USB drives gathering dust, unsorted photos sitting in SD cards, files scattered on old laptop and desktop computers.

How do we move on?


The future is already here

Live in the clouds with odrive

Live in the clouds with odrive

The point of the cloud is that it is no longer about physical limitations. Files should be completely portable. Having files scattered all over the place is also not a problem — it may even be the new way of life. We just need a way to collect it all together so that it stays accessible, organized, and portable forever.


At odrive, we’ve been focused on bringing people into this next era. With odrive, you can connect all of your cloud storage accounts — even multiple accounts from the same provider — and sync your work files and personal files to your desktop. Use a single provider (e.g. Amazon Drive and its $60/yr unlimited storage plan), or use many. Connect to storage in Europe if you’re in Europe. Pick your storage like you would any other kind of service provider.

You have many choices, but your storage is always unified and organized, not scattered.


Install odrive on your Mac, PC, or Linux computers. Get your files using our webclient if you need to.

Sync files the odrive way… sync only what you need and see everything else as placeholder files which don’t take up disk space. Unsync files when you’re done with them to turn them back into placeholders.

Share weblinks or share storage easily against any of your linked storage accounts, and manage sharing from one place.

Your stuff is always accessible, shareable, and portable... Not confined or unmanageable.


Connect to non-traditional storage, including apps like Facebook, Instagram,Slack, and Hipchat. Even that content can be portable, too.

Use our CLI to automate specific tasks or to empower your server environments.

Feel confident that no matter how much data you have or how big your files are, odrive can help you get everything into the cloud. Worried about a bad network connection killing your large file upload? Our infinite file size feature splits large files into smaller pieces behind the scenes.

Your odrive is flexible, even if the storage you’re connecting to isn’t.


Encrypt your files using Zero Knowledge encryption so that nobody in the chain of custody except for you can access your files. Take matters into your own hand and don’t settle for promises of security.

Your files are safe. Encrypt them and make sure only you have the key... Not odrive. Not your storage provider.


File storage should be unified, safe, and flexible. And it should be available for everybody. You can have it right now… Get odrive today and start storing your files the right way.



P.S. Why didn’t the Star Wars rebellion just use the cloud?!?! Instead, they concocted an unnecessarily complicated scheme involving a USB stick, an X-wing starfighter pilot courier, and a confusing IFTTT recipe to end a sleep loop on a navigation droid. (Should’ve used odrive to access, protect, and share their files.)