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Many providers now offer a wide variety of flexible online data storage services, ranging from passive ones, such as online archiving, to active ones, such as collaboration and social networking. They have become known as computing and storage "Clouds." Such clouds allow users to abandon local storage and use online alternatives, such as Amazon S3, Nirvanix CloudNAS, or Microsoft SkyDrive. Some cloud providers utilize the fact that online storage can be accessed from any location connected to the Internet, and offer additional functionality; for example, Apple MobileMe allows users to synchronize common applications that run on multiples devices.
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