There are dozens of cloud-based storage solutions available today. They offer cost effective and robust off-site storage, usually with some additional feature that make them attractive for specific applications.
- I use Dropbox as my new thumb drive
- I use Box.Net for file sharing
- I use Codesion for code
- I use Sugarsync for my technical library
- And I’m experimenting with MiMedia for my photos, and SoundCloud to share my music productions.
Something is missing. None of these services plays well with my studio software!
Now there is a solution!
(For those that would normally jump to the end)
Enter Gobbler, a cloud based system that has been fine tuned for music production. It was first released for the Macintosh, and now it is available for Windows too. You need to look at Gobbler! I can’t express how much more comfortable I am with my backup solution now.
So what is Gobbler?
Gobbler is a specialized cloud solution, designed specifically for Digital Audio Workstations and applications! By recognizing specific file and project types they can keep track of all of the files associated with a specific project. (Visit their web site for an up-to-date list of supported platforms.)
There are three main components to Gobbler: Backups, Collaboration, and Project Management. It’s important to realize that all three components are integrated in the cloud!
The backup piece is the most mature feature, and it just works! Sorry, there is little to say. Launch the client, tell it which drive or drives have projects on them, and it finds them. Projects are then backed up, including all the associated files.
As files change on the local drive the changes (not the files) are copied to the cloud. You can go back to an older version, or even a deleted version. And you can throttle the Gobbler process should it start to get in the way. (On my meager system it has yet to cause any problems, but it’s nice to know it can be tamed.)
Collaboration means different things to different people. Gobbler uses the file sharing approach. It already has the files, so why not make them available for sharing. Again it just works. And it is FAST!
Project management is still developing; new features are being added regularly. The current system allows you to remove duplicates and identify dependencies. You can also see which files have changed, and when they changed.
The Good News…
Gobbler works! It does everything it claims, and it does it well.
Gobbler appears to be very well thought out. It is structured such that future enhancements won’t affect end-users.
The Gobbler team is very responsive to bug reports, feature requests, and plain old questions.
The pricing seems to me to be very reasonable. It’s a little more than I’d expect to pay for local storage, until I factor in hardware for RAID, refreshing the drives (drives fail), and all the other headaches associated with backups. (the fact that transfer is included in the cost as well… Hard Drives don’t have the fast file transfer feature)
The first 5GB of storage is free, and you can earn additional free storage by referring friends. Several of the cloud based products have taken this approach, and it has been very effective.
If I am starting with a new project the whole backup process is quite literally invisible. The first time I tried it I didn’t even realize that Gobbler had already backed it up until I went searching for it. That’s pretty cool.
The company is pretty impressive too! They are really responsive to bug reports and plain old user questions. The video tutorials are a great place to start, and they are building a community so that users can provide additional support for users. Because sometimes the developers really never thought of that!
The maybe not quite as good (yet) news
The initial upload is going to take a while. No matter what your upload speed. Most people, home or business, have an up-link that is a lot slower (by design) than their down-link.
Even before the upload Gobbler takes some time to scan the drive, and then remove duplicate files from the upload list. And then it compresses and encrypts the files for transmission. It helps, but it’s still a long process!
It would be cool if Gobbler could restrict the types of files it looks for (you can limit the types of files that Gobbler finds in the preference menu, but for now the choices are limited) , or if it could limit the scan to just one section of the drive. Gobbler reports that they do not have a solution yet, but they are working on it. Based on past performance I expect to see a solution sooner rather than later.
Gobbler is not a great solution for a catastrophic failure. If you are using 50GB or more of on-line storage you won’t be thrilled with waiting to download all that data, especially if you are in the midst of recovering from a disk failure.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to know that you could, but just because you could doesn’t mean you should. I think it still makes sense to keep a local copy of you project files. The beauty of doing both is you don’t have to be quite as focused about the local backup. That’s worth a lot!
If you are at all serious about your music production you need to look at Gobbler. I think it is the best solution for music production systems!
Gobbler understands file formats for all the major platforms. Of you backup a Sonar project Gobbler will capture all the associated files as well.
Gobbler detects duplicate files and only stores one copy on their servers. This is actually pretty big – if you use the same file to start two projects, and then make changes in only one project it will recognize the changed version as a new file and save it with the project. (Just to give you an idea about how much they’ve thought about this stuff.)
Gobbler provides secure, reliable, inexpensive off-site backups of your productions. Your data is, I’d imagine, invaluable. You need to think about that.
Gobbler provides an easy way to share files between users. You don’t even have to sign up to download a file, but you do need to register to upload.
Gobbler provides the basis of a project and version management system. This function is growing.
The first 5GB is free, and the next 20GB is only $4/month or $40/year. And you can earn additional free storage by telling others about Gobbler.
Speaking of which, please feel free to use this link to sign up for Gobbler… thanks!