You probably read a lot about a user-end of cloud storage solution, and how it can change the way we exchange files. If you’re an Apple-made product user, and if you’re reading this article than you probably are, you know all about how iCloud keeps in sync files and setting across your iOS devices and your Macs as well. To be fair, iCloud is a bit different that most cloud services since it’s available only to OS X and iOS users, and it can’t be freely used as a cloud storage. On the other hand, you’ve got numerous online services, like Dropbox for example, which are typical cloud storages with a centralized server which keeps all authenticated folders in sync, across different devices and platforms.
Even though Dropbox is probably one of the most popular cloud services at the moment, there are some others like Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google’s Drive or recently introduced Amazon’s Cloud Drive. People use them in pretty much the same manner, which really can ease up the exchange process and make your business organization work much more productive. The truth is that you really should be aware of privacy concerns, and be truly aware what’s happening with your files in this process. This should be a great matter for those who are using cloud storage solution to store some sensitive data and other valuable files and information.
For those who are willing to try out a safer solution, there’s a service called AeroFS. It works very similarly to Dropbox, for example, but with one big difference. AeroFS syncs data between numerous computers and devices without having its own cloud storage, which means it’s completely decentralized. Your files are only yours, and they are not going to be stored on a remote server.
AeroFS can be used with a free account. You will need to sign up at AeroFS’ website and download a small OS X application. This app will allow you set-up a computer name, which is important step in authentication process, as well as where AeroFS folder is going to be located. This folder, and all of its contents is going to be synced across your authenticated network. Once you’re finished you’ll go through a small tutorial, which is identical to Dropbox’s one, and now you’ll be able to see a small AeroFS’ icon in OS X’s menu bar.
In order to sync multiple Macs, you will need to download AeroFS’ app, and login with your credentials on every Mac you want to keep in sync (or a Windows PC). This will keep contents of AeroFS’ folder in sync. As you can see, it’s similar to any cloud storage. A big difference is that files are synced by uploading and downloading directly to a computer, without storing them on a server. This also means that you’re not limited by a server space, and you can make AeroFS’ folder as big as your hard drive lets you.
AeroFS’ OS X app will always sit a menu bar. By clicking on its icon you can see a list of shared folders and recent activities. There’s also another interesting feature, called Version History. It allows you to check for several versions of a file and to replace the current version with an earlier one. This feature will also pop-up once AeroFS sees that one files is being used simultaneously on two or more computers, so you can review which version you’d like to save.
As you can see, AeroFS comes with many advantages over a typical cloud service. We’ve reviewed its basic (and free) service which comes with a free AeroFS OS X app. There’s are also some paid upgrades, which are going to be fully explained and review in a separate article.