The Essence of File Management In A Terabyte World

The Essence of File Management In A Terabyte World

In a few years, I’m sure people will look back on this 2013 post and laugh–I’m struggling with file maintenance on my Mac and running out of Gigabytes and now even Terabytes. Where do we go from here? Petabytes.

The ever complex problem of file management in a digital world. From kilobyte, to megabyte, to gigabyte, to terabyte and soon, the petabyte.

The ever complex problem of file management in a digital world. From kilobyte, to megabyte, to gigabyte, to terabyte and soon, the petabyte.

While this may seem like a fairly trivial First World issue, it’s a rapidly expanding problem that computer manufacturing companies don’t seem to be addressing fast enough. Yes, Apple’s iMacs now come with a 1 TB drive, but as I’ve found in the world of HD video editing, a terabyte doesn’t last very long.  And a gigabyte? Yeah, well there are 1,000 gigabytes in a terabyte…

For those of you who don’t understand what I’m talking about, there’s a progression in the size of hard drives. Back in the late 80s, when Macs were first getting going, I remember floppy disks that had 512 kilobytes on them. That was considered a lot.  Then we progressed to megabytes. As Moore’s law was proven more and more correct and the need for more and more storage came about came the gigabyte in the late 2000s. As we’ve escalated the need to store data up to 2013 with the proliferation of HD video, expanding iTunes libraries and storage of photos in things like iPhoto and Aperture libraries, demand for space continues to grow and at a rapid rate. The thing to have now is at least a terabyte of storage.

But most computers these days aren’t coming with hard drives that have anything more than a terabyte. This MacBook Pro, bought in March of 2012, had 750 GBs on it. I’m down to about 284 GBs left and that’s freaking me out because that means I’ve used almost 500 GBs and eventually, I’m going to run out. I’ve only had this machine for 15 months!

The solution then comes with external hard drives and the Cloud.  I’ve been a user of Dropbox for some time, but when I store something in Dropbox, it also lives in the hard drive of my Mac, so if I took the 60.6 percent of the 222 GBs I have over there off my Mac, I’m only going to get back about 100 GBs. My iTunes library now is about 300 GBs. My primary Aperture photo library is almost 700 GBs.

I have two external hard drives I use regularly on my Mac now. One stores the Aperture library, the other iTunes.  I have desktop hard drives that store video, do Time Machine back ups and then a smaller drive I use for archiving.

And while the day after I just bought that new 2 TB external drive to attach to this Mac, I have only about 3.5 TBs of available space right now before I need to buy another external unit.  As funny as it may sound, that makes me squirm because I know it’s not going to last long.  Combined, I have enough storage space for about 7.75 GBs. That means I’ve used about 60 percent of available space.

Yesterday, a fellow dad blogger recommended a new Cloud storage site called Bitcasa. For either $10 a month or $99 per year, they’re offering unlimited lifetime storage space. What I am not sure about yet is if I have things here on my laptop like I do with Dropbox, am I going to be taking up disc space in both places? Meaning, if I loaded 100 GBs of space to Bitcasa and I can see access to it on my Mac, am I going to be down another 100 GBs here on the Mac, too.  And that’s where my problem lies. If I could put all 4.5 GBs of stuff I have out on Bitcasa and it not try to replicate or drain space here on the Mac, that’d be swell.

Otherwise, it’ll be time to get something more than a 2 TB hard drive before too much longer.

Next, the Petabyte — or 1,000 Terabytes. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to take very long to get there…..

 

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