You might think that syncing is the only thing that cloud storage is good for – DropBox sync, where files are available everywhere, or Carbonite which is more for backing up your files. But what about a cloud service that adds a folder to your desktop computer that you can double click and open just like any other folder? This would be a killer feature for your media: imagine accessing your videos or music no matter where you are and be able to stream them without having to take up space on your hard drive.
Box.com offers 10gb of free mountable storage but your mileage may vary since they don’t officially offer WebDAV support. Although you can mount one or more of your free 10GB accounts as network drives on your Mac (as well as Linux/PC), I’ve heard that the service is hit or miss. You can mount your Box.com share using the Finder’s “Connect” command, but the connection will be more reliable through an FTP client that supports WebDAV like Transmit FTP or CyberDuck. From Cyberduck, click on “Open Connection” and choose the WebDAV (HTTP/SSL) connection type. Use https://www.box.com/dav as the address for the server field and enter in your Box.com username and password:
I mentioned Box.com first because it’s so popular, even if it’s WebDAV implementation is hit and miss. If you want to go the WebDAV route for getting cloud files integrated into your Finder, you can try other services that explicitly support it:
- SafeSync (WebDav enabled),
- FilesAnywhere (WebDav enabled)
- Instead of WebDAV cloud providers, you can roll your own WebDAV solution using BarracudaDrive. You just need to install it on a VPS server provider that is ok with you using it for storage. 500 GB storage plans are available at BuyVM ($15/month) and Backupsy ($20/month), with Backupsy offering better support and ready to go NAS installations like Openfiler, FreeNAS, Open Media Vault and Turnkey Linux Fileserver.
SMEstorage offers cloud drive integration through their Mac/PC/Linux/iOS/Android clients. With SMEstorage you’re expected to bring your own storage:
- Google Docs / Google Drive
- Amazon S3
- Apple iCloud
- Microsoft SkyDrive
- Azure Blob Storage
- RackSpace Cloud Files
They also offer 5gb of free Amazon S3 space to get you started. The price for their desktop client is $60, with a $9 yearly upgrade fee.
Expandrive for Mac / PC
Expandrive can mount the following cloud storage providers natively into the Mac’s Finder (or Windows Explorer on the PC):
- Rackspace Cloud Files
- Openstack Swift
- Dreamhost DreamObjects
Google Drive & SkyDrive are coming soon. The price is $39.95 per license. One thing to note is that Expandrive will keep your cloud storage integrated in your Finder even after you sleep and wakeup your computer.
Transmit, specifically the Transmit Disk feature makes it easy to mount S3 / WebDAV disks locally on the Mac. Transmit is much beloved in the Mac community so I’d be remiss not to mention it.