Cloud optimize

Review: Wuala cloud storage

Wuala's mesh network and security model for file encryption definitely make it worth serious consideration.

There is one approach to cloud file storage that is both interesting and useful, but Wuala isn't really meant for those who lack patience.

System requirements

  • Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista, 7, OS X, and Linux
  • Cost: Free (with paid storage upgrades)
  • More Info: http://wuala.com

Who's it for?

Wuala is designed for cloud storage warriors that want good operating system flexibility and ease of use for off-loading files.

What problem does it solve?

Wuala doesn't necessarily solve any problems, given that there are many competing services that offer similar benefits. Rather, it relies on a contingent of other Wuala users to pick up the slack in the storage hosting department, in exchange for the benefits that come with being a member.

Stand-out features

  • Extra space is available: Unlike the majority of online file storage services like Dropbox and Box.com, which offer paid plans only as a means to expand storage, Wuala offers you the option to gain additional online storage in exchange for some of your unused local disk space to commit to the network.
  • Uploads are encrypted automatically: Everything you upload with Wuala is given high-grade file encryption to prevent hackers and other nefarious evildoers from messing with your cache of files. Wuala doesn't even have access to the files you upload. If you lose your password, you are out of luck.
  • Mobile devices are supported: Wuala also offers a simple, yet capable, mobile app for Android and iOS devices, making file access easy and accessible from anywhere.
  • Bandwidth can be adjusted: You can easily cap the amount of upstream and downstream net traffic that will be given to Wuala, so that the rest of your Internet connection doesn't get bogged down.

What's wrong?

  • It can be slow at times: Because of the peer-to-peer mesh nature of Wuala's service, sometimes the nodes are slow to respond to file upload and download requests. Even the speeds of the transfers themselves are solely contingent on how others on the network are in terms of network congestion.
  • Interface with Windows isn't seamless: Sadly, Wuala falters in the OS integration department. Wuala has no direct integration with Windows Explorer, requiring a separate program to work with files.

Competitive products

Bottom line

Without a doubt, Wuala's mesh network, security model for file encryption, and the "give space... get space" option definitely make Wuala worth every ounce of consideration. However, the lack of solid integration into the operating system and occasionally fickle performance could pose an issue for some.

Also read:

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

6 comments
kc22033
kc22033

Totally unfair to WUALA / LaCIE (soon to be part of Seagate). The version of WUALA you reviewed is out of date. The architecture has changed - please get the latest version and try your review once more.

Kevin917
Kevin917

From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuala Wuala (play /wl/; play on the word voil) is a secure online storage, file synchronization, versioning and backup service originally developed and run by Caleido Inc.,[1] which is now part of LaCie. The service stores files in data centres that are provided by Wuala in multiple European countries (France, Germany, Switzerland)[2]. An earlier version also supported distributed storage on other users machines, however this feature has been dropped. and 28 September 2011: The "trade storage" feature was discontinued. [13]

leyonchung
leyonchung

Excellent review. I have used this cloud storage and there is nothing that i can say bad about their service in terms of storage , etc. Everything should be rates as excellent because the storage structure has been constructed well and you can easily enjoy sharing and storing your data on the entire web. Apart form the Syncing and Sharing feature. This provide is fully secured and your data will be in the safe hood... I am consistently searching for a good cloud reviews website that could review all features of the cloud hosting, cloud storage, cloud apps and managed cloud providers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There really is only one choice right now; SpiderOak. Client side encryption by default and a password/phrase that will never touch the network or service provider's systems. Like Lastpass.. it's one of the few hosted services (buzword; cloud) that is actually setup properly. I don't believe Wuala encrypts by default. if it has the option to encrypt client side then it's already got dropbox beat and buried. Now, the one interesting thing they where doing was storage sharing; allow wuala to use some of your own hard drive space for user storage and you get a higher limit for your own storage. Interesting.. scarry as all heck if the encryption is not in place.. but interesting.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What service do you use for your cloud storage? Do you have more than one service? Have you tried Wuala and what is your verdict on their service?

anil_g
anil_g

I've also managed to get the command line client working on FreeBSD (I think). This has so far been impossible for me with Dropbox. Wuala 5GB free option is attractive compared to Dropbox. Speed I find, synching just over 3GB today on Wuala, is slower than Dropbox when I last attempted similar amount. I like the client side encryption. I still self-encrypt important files as well before transmission but this is a more secure model than Dropbox. Dropbox has the most simple client interface, though, and also offers quick and easy web access. There are pros and cons.