A Perfect iTunes Storage Solution!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by blackpond, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. blackpond macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008
    This is an idea I have for Apple to cure all our iTunes data backup and storage needs (if anyone at Apple reads this post, please, pass this around a brain storming meeting or two…):

    Our iTunes libraries are growing out of control!
    How do we safely store all of this great data you let us buy?? Here’s what I feel is the perfect solution:

    • We don’t need an iTunes server on Time Machine or Airport Extreme
    • We don’t need external USB storage enabled on Apple TV
    • We don’t need bigger and bigger iPod/iPhone storage
    • We don’t need/want to burn all our content to backup DVD’s
    • We don’t need/want to add another terabyte of storage to our computer every two years

    What we all need, could use and would be willing to pay for yesterday is this:

    An iTunes library and server stored in the internet ‘cloud.’

    Advantages to us, the tech and media hungry consumer:

    • Our data will never be lost (assuming proper server configuration)
    • We will be able to scale our libraries infinitely without worrying about storage
    • Our complete libraries are available on-the-go, anywhere we have internet (ie, over the iPhone or at a friends’ pad)
    • Never having to consider storage space as a factor when deciding between HD or SD TV shows or movies
    • No need to upload any files for backup. Items purchased from the iTunes store are already stored on iTunes servers. We simply ‘gain access.’

    Advantages to you, the Apple geniuses you are:

    • You already have this data stored on your servers! You don’t really need to store any more media than you already do.
    • Charge a recurring ‘convenience’ fee
    • Further solidify digital purchases as the way of the future by eliminating one of the few remaining barriers to total digital media domination…. Storage.

    Additional Thoughts:

    • Local iTunes installations are synced to the iTunes ‘cloud’ much like an iPod is synced with iTunes.
    • Please don’t forget about AppleTV. I’d like it if I never had to open iTunes on my PC again. Please, fully integrate the iTunes ‘Cloud’ server with AppleTV!

    Anyone else on the forum have some thoughts on this? I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this!

    Peace out!
    Jared B.
  2. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    I hope you have a really fast Internet connection...
  3. blackpond thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008
    If the connection is fast enough to justify purchasing items from the iTunes store it is fast enough for this solution it would seem.

    A person only watches one movie or listens to one track at a time. New movie rentals are ready to watch in under minute on my connection- why not watch media from a 'cloud' store of my own purchased media this way?

    And if you need to sync to iPod for on-the-go without a connection, you still have that option.
  4. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I've considered this idea before and it does indeed make sense. Unfortunately, the world isn't all connected on broadband. If it's an opt in, pay service, it could work.

    Here in Toronto, bandwidth is pretty cheap. I pay $50 p/mo. for 10mbps down, 1mpbs up; 100GB p/mo. limit.

    If you make it a MobileMe service, it makes perfect sense. I'd make an adjustment though: Because music files are pretty compact, this service should focus on video.

    All of your music would be stored locally but your video (TV, movies) would sit in the cloud and would be accessible as a download when you need it. Your music files could also be accessed from this cloud for your iPhone and iPod.

    I think Apple is exploring this as per a copyright registration released a short time ago.
  5. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    I think that you run into a few problems with this model.

    The most important is the bandwidth "throttle" that is being debated/imposed now. If all your data movement is across the Internet, then you could reasonably hit a 100GB/month limit listening to music and watching videos. There is clearly a dramatic effect on the broadband system.

    Apple has been resistant to the "subscription" method which is basically what you are describing. Also, how do you get bulk data easily down to your iPod or computer for manipulation?

    How does this method account for me ripping my own CD's and DVD's? There might be some copyright risk if Apple were to store all that data? Also, most people's upload speed is considerably less than their download speed. How do you get everything up to Apple's servers?

    I do a weekly Time Machine backup to an external drive. This week, because I added some videos, that backup was 32GB. How long would a similar backup across the Internet take?

    "The cloud" is not a bad solution to many problems. It can distribute the risk and give you enterprise-class backup. I think we will probably be there one day. But you surrender your privacy and are at risk to vulnerabilities beyond your control. Specifically if you lose your broadband connection.
  6. blackpond thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008
    What I am proposing is not a replacement to the current way of storing media locally. It is in addition to it. For example, you may have 1TB of data stored locally that you view/listen to often with another 500GB that you access over IP as you need it.

    As I said, you would sync media to your local iTunes library from the cloud when you want it, much like you sync from 500GB's of music to an 8GB iPod when you want it. If the user wishes, they would have the option of syncing the complete library to their local machine and using the cloud merely as backup to disk failure.

    This would not be a subscription media service. It is a subscription storage/backup service. You will only have access to media that you purchase the same way you do with the current iTunes store. The difference is that your media may be optionally stored, indefinitely, in the cloud.

    Agreed. However, sites like mozy.com seem to get away with this without question.

    If the media were purchased from the iTunes store there would be no need to move the media back over the internet to the cloud... it's already there, you simply gain access to it when you purchase it.

    There is no privacy issue in storing iTunes media in the cloud. These files are available to anyone with a few dollars to spend. If the broadband connection is lost, you also you have your own local media storage until a connection is restored.

    Thanks for the discussion!
  7. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    Not to rain on anybody's parade here... but I don't find this solution to be at all tempting. For several reasons I suppose.

    • Internet speeds. I'm on a 1.5mbps connection, (sad, I know... but no alternatives at the moment) and I wouldn't dream of doing this because of download bottlenecks. Sadly, half of Americans ( I don't know the actual number) probably have a slower connection than I do. Many are still on dial-up. The "pipes" just aren't there yet.
    • Ownership/Responsibility. I don't want to trust anyone else with my music/video content. Not even Apple. I want to know where my stuff is stored, physically, at all times so I can manipulate it as necessary.
    • Speed. People complain about iTunes being to slow and bloated already. Why would you want to make it considerably slower than it already is?
    • Accessibility. So... as soon as I lose an internet connection or leave the house I lose my ability to play files? The files I own? Not for me... I go on vacation to often, or leave to places without internet connection too much to have my music tied to the internet.
    • Legality/Privacy. Although I wouldn't argue that this could be accomplished without losing privacy... I think it would be exceedingly hard. I think that it's a step in the wrong direction, and we don't need to give corporations any more reasons to regulate our music collections than they already do. I think this is a legitimate concern.
    • Industry Bandwidth. Every single iTunes user streaming ALL of the content they listen to or view? You MUST be crazy. The pipes are bursting! ;)
    • Space/Cost. Apple is not going to let you do this for free. There are MILLIONS of iTunes users, representing MILLIONS of GB of space. Do you have any idea the infrastructure that would have to be built to store that much data? It would cost you a TON of money per year. More than most are willing to pay, without a doubt.

    What would be the perfect solution for me? An Apple created, network connected, Drobo type solution. Multiple hard drive UnRaid type solution which backs itself up and protects against drive failure. Integrate Time Machine so you're also protected against accidental deletion, and make sure the playlist files are backed up as well.

    I have no interest at all in delegating my file organization and housing to a corporation thousands of miles away. I don't think most people would.

    That being said, they could give you the option I guess. Those of us with extremely high-speed connections and an extremely "hands off" approach to computing might be interested in such a service.

    To see what other iTunes storage solutions people have come up with, I would start with this thread.
  8. blackpond thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008
    Do you purchase and download music and/or movies and TV shows from the iTunes store? If so, your connection is fast enough.

    It isn't your music/video content. It is the same content being sold to millions every day for 99 cents a track. It's hardly a privacy issue. If you have a section of home videos or private films or exclusive garage band tracks and are afraid of them being copied down by a malicious user then don't sync those items to the cloud.

    How would this make it slower? If Apple took the time to integrate the service properly you likely wouldn't know it was there in terms of application speed/performance.

    No. They are not streamed. They are 'synced' to your device. You still have a copy of all your media if you so choose.

    Presently, if your hard drive fails you lose all of your purchased media and are unable to retrieve it unless you have a backup in place. With the cloud, no problem, sync it back up to your system after you've fixed the hardware issue. The present system would require you to purchase all of your media again. I'm not so sure that's the freedom you are looking for.

    The system I am proposing would be an additional storage option that would not replace, but would augment your local storage solution.

    How does this play out long term? ie, when people have 10TB of stored media? And the library keeps growing and growing.... and boom, your house burns down. You just lost all your media. If you wanted it back, you'd be buying it all over again.

    Thanks for the discussion!
  9. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I do. But an HD movie takes about 8 hours to download. In addition, during the time that any files are being transferred, the entire system slows down so accessing basic websites takes significantly longer than normal.

    That is a major limitation. If I can't put them in iTunes, than I can't put them on my iPod/iPhone/AppleTV. Essentially you've just prevented everyone from sharing their home videos with people on the road.

    You're adding additional processes, you're adding additional bandwidth use. When files are added to your library, they are synced up to the could. How could it NOT make it slower?

    Unless the file you want hasn't been synced. Right? Under your proposal SOME of your content will be quick-access synced content, and others will be slow-access streaming content. Unless you're suggesting that ALL of your content to be synced, at which rate I am wondering why you're not just calling it a 'backup' then. Which you can already do with other services, so I hardly see the point.

    I would not lose anything (fingers crossed). I have my iTunes library backed up to an external hard drive. Like many people do. All you're suggesting is moving the backup from a personally owned hard drive to a backup server over the web. These services are already available, albeit not through Apple (actually you can if you buy enough MobileME storage space).

    It's a problem we all deal with (see the thread I referenced earlier). The solution is to have all of your data backed up at least once, and hopefully twice with 1 off-site drive in case of a fire or other natural disaster. You're suggesting an online backup. I don't disagree with you that this is a good idea for some. I would suggest you take advantage of the options that are already out there!
  10. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    No chance.

    Apple will charge you for using 500GB webspace for this, probably at a rate of $80 a year. And then, there is bandwidth limits. MobileMe's iDisk has a bandwidth limit.

    Just won't work. Not a bad idea for the future, when we won't have bandwidth issues and internet speeds will be in the Gigabits/s.
  11. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Download speeds are way faster than upload speeds. My current iTunes library, between music and video (movies and TV shows), is about 500 gigs. Many people have libraries that put mine to shame. And why stop at just iTunes? Why not have the ability to upload the entire contents of all my drives? For me that comes to about 1TB. Uploading that to the "cloud" would take forever.

    I really don't see the problem with just buying additional drives and backing up your files yourself.

    Now, what I'd really like to see is the ability to sync playlists and especially podcast subscriptions across computers. In fact, I don't see why podcast subscriptions can't be synced now, since you have to sign in to the iTMS anyway.
  12. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    That is why I'm buying a 2x500GB hard drive and setting it up in RAID 1 (mirrored) format. I've got quite a collection of TV Shows and Movies, that I want a backup of my backup.

    I'd hit the roof if I lost all those.
  13. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    My iTunes is running off of a 750GB external, which is backed up weekly to an idential drive via CCC. I had mine setup in RAID 1, but for some reason my iMac wouldn't startup or shutdown without the drives unattached. During startup it would get to the blue screen, and then just stop... it would sit there forever if I let it. I literally had to pull the FW800 cord from the computer, and then it would continue with the startup as usual. Same with shutdown.

    Must have been something funny with the RAID. IT works fine now.

    I decided RAID wasn't the best option anyway since there was no protection against accidental deletion. With my setup now... if I accidentally delete some files, I have a week to notice before the backup is actually run.
  14. TXCraig macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2007
    Houston, TX
    But the way... Amazon's video download service already works this way. I think its great!
  15. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007

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