Stability of Wuala client is a pain

I’m using the wuala client since one week with the idea to migrate all of my relevant data to the wuala cloud. Additionally I’m sharing some local space and bought some additional space to support the wuala team.

From the concept view I’m very pleased with wuala.I really like the client. The idea and usability of the wuala client is very good, simple to use and yet powerfull enough to tweak some performance. Integration into the host operating system as local share works also fine.Working offline is also cool and performance also. The client performs fine as long you play around with less files.

Now comes the but. A very big BUT. In case you store some GB of data with 10.000 and more files you get a mess. I had since last week about 6 Java exceptions killing the client and some crashes without even an error message. This is not what I excpected.

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Local Backup of Online Wuala files

Hot topic with high attention to the user is still BACKUP! There are many comments to the corresponding wuala tickets with a lot of assumptions. What is not clear to me is what they really want and why. I’ll try to write some arguments with a narrow solution.

While Wuala is a very promising cloud storage service they don’t give you a promise that you will never loose your files. This is fine for the given price tag, as long as I can take the precaution myself in case I care. When using Wuala as cloud storage backup for local files you are fine, because Wuala offers already a “Backup to the cloud” feature.

In case you just want to store your data in the storage cloud you have bad luck. Unfortunately there is only a manual, error prone way to backup your data. What’s missing is an automatic feature which keeps a local shadow copy of your cloud files up to date. There are several ways how to implement this:

  • “Enhanced local Cache”: Wuala has already a “local Cache” feature which could be enhanced so you can flag directories to be always locally cached
  • “Enhance Backup”: the existing Backup feature could offer an additional option “Backup Cloud folder to local folder”. That would be the best solution in terms of the greater flexibility to add safety features, e.g:
    • check by random the checksums of several files in the local backup folder to replace the backup copy with a new one from the cloud and inform the user when the hard disk starts to degrate. This would be an incredible feature and easy to be understood by customers.
    • the local folder could be a fileshare in your network

With such a simple feature, Wuala could compensate the missing “promise” to guarantee your data.

Amazon S3 and Wuala hard facts (II)

In my first post about Amazon S3 and Wuala I just made a very simple technical comparison about both services. Due to the great response I provide you with a deeper review.

Compare Price

Comparing both service for their cost is tricky, because their pricing concepts differs in many aspects. Especially the fact that you can trade your local storage for free cloud storage flaws every comparison.

Amazon S3:

  • first 50 TB / used storage per month 0,150 USD per GB
  • PUT, COPY, POST or LIST 0,01 USD per 1.000 requests
  • GET and all other requests 0,01 USD per 10.000 requests
  • up to 10 TB / month outgoing traffic 0,150 USD per GB
  • Third party client software for desktop integration cost something, e.g. JungleDisk 3$ per month

Wuala:

  • First 1 GB are free (send me a comment and I’ll reply with an activation code for 2 GB)
  • You can invite friends and get additional storage
  • You can share local storage to the wuala cloud and get additional storage
  • You can buy storage (see list)
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Amazon S3 and Wuala hard facts

Since 2 years I’m using Amazon S3 as cloud storage services and I’m quite happy with it. From time to time Wuala comes into my focus checking how stable the service becomes. Both differ in every technical aspect of their service but in the end they store files in the cloud.

This time I made a small test, to compare just the performance and technical aspects of the services. The simple test scenario was to copy a folder with 50 MB, containing 20 files over a DSL connection with 16MBit/s download and 1MBit/s upload bandwidth. The result was not a big surprise.

Upload 50MB:

Time (min:sec) Total (MB)
Amazon S3 7:24 52
Wuala 13:47 82

Download 50MB:

Time (min:sec) Total (MB)
Amazon S3 2:14 50,5
Wuala 2:27 54,1

The figures are simple to enough to see that Amazon S3 stores files in half the time compared to Wuala. Interestingly not because it has a higher performance (average transfer rate about 20% higher) but the total amount of data send over the net. Wuala uses P2P technology which stores encrypted file segments redundant on several clients (plus a central backup server) which results in more traffic. You can surely produce advanced performance tests, but they won’t get you something very different.

The price is compareable. For 10 GB you pay for both services per year about 15 GB though the comparison is distorted by the fact you get 2 GB free from Wuala per account and additional space for inviting friends or sharing your hard disk on one side and that you pay as you go with Amazon (wuala smallest offer is a 10GB package).

The reason why I’m still attracted by Wuala is the client. You have nothing like that for Amazon S3. Yes, JungleDisk is a good client software, but it

  • doesn’t work offline
  • needs a connection to the JungleDisk gateway to access Amazon S3 which makes me curious about security & privacy
  • nothing about sharing files with friends, notifications etc.
  • no security features like verify the integrity of my file

Wuala doesn’t have the write performance like Amazon S3 but you won’t mention the difference because the upload happens with both tools in the background. Wuala client provides:

  • perfect offline functionality
  • clear concept to ensure privacy (I trust it)
  • Swiss company with connection to university which has been bought last year by Lacie
  • collaboration features like group spaces, notification when someone added a file etc.
  • integrity check to your files
  • access to public cloud storage content published by other Wuala users

My personal conclusion is to give Wuala a try to exchange data with my family and friends.

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