AeroFS is the newer of the two products, and is designed mainly for desktop and laptop computers running the Windows, Apple OS X or Linux operating systems. An Android app, they say, is coming soon.
AeroFS has a free version which allows up to four accounts to share files from the same “folder” location. Paid versions start at $10 per month, allowing 50+ users, with customized versions for larger groups of people. All the versions allow for unlimited synching between an unlimited number of devices. Security and encryption is top-notch.
ownCloud is a much more highly-developed, feature-laden product, offering a toolkit that can do just about anything in our increasingly sync-happy world. Files, calendars, contacts, photo galleries, everything has a place in ownCloud, which also has versions for Apple and Android mobile devices. You choose where your files live, and which computers control what. You can even use ownCloud to control remote cloud services like Dropbox.
Running your own private cloud service can have its downside, too. You’ll have to learn some things to make it all function properly. You’ll have to spend some time configuring all your various devices, setting up accounts and troubleshooting the whole shebang if something goes wrong. In other words, it will require a little work to make it all happen.
For serious computer enthusiasts, do-it-yourselfers, businesses and other organizations, the rewards of setting up your own cloud service can be great. Keep in mind, though, that it probably won’t be a three or four-click, budda-bing, budda-bang, all done-type process. If that’s what you need, you’re probably better off using something like Dropbox.
Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or davemoorecomputers.com.