Get ready for the personal cloud

Believe it -- personal clouds exist, offering much-needed options for users who sync data between more than one device

I hear a lot about personal clouds these days -- so much so that I figured it was a good idea to talk about what they are and the value they may bring.

A few types of personal clouds are gaining traction. One type covers the exclusive use for an individual, not a business; I'll call these "public/personal clouds." Another type covers clouds that exist in a home or a business and are managed by an individual; I'll call these "private/personal clouds."

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Gartner vouches for public/personal clouds: "Consumers spend over $2 trillion a year on content, devices and services, and the emergence of personal clouds reflects their desire to access content on any device without complications or restrictions."

Public/personal clouds refer to consumer-oriented cloud services, such as Box.net, Dropbox, iCloud, and Evernote, targeted at individual users. They typically provide simple services, such as file, picture, notes, and content sharing, between devices. Most users who sync files between two or more devices and computers find huge value in these services -- I know I do.

Private/personal clouds are more complex and still in development. You can see and touch these devices, and they may provide some type of cloud service. For instance, many NAS devices offer personal cloud options and double as unique personal storage-as-a-service providers. In turn, you can access files remotely using a secured connection back to your NAS over the Internet.

Do personal clouds exist? You bet they do -- and they'll become a larger part of our personal lives over the course of time.

Moving forward, we'll purchase, use, and toss hundreds of devices and computers. However, our personal clouds will helps us transcend the changing technology.

This article, "Get ready for the personal cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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