Generic Backupify
November 18, 2012
G Suite

How to Use Google Drive to Share Large Files

You finally completed the PowerPoint presentation for the upcoming meeting. It’s filled with compelling images. You send it to your client… only to get a “rejected message” notice. The file is too big. Their email servers won’t accept it. Many email providers, including Gmail, limit attachment sizes to no more than 25 MB.

Or, a vendor has just given you a DVD containing video recordings and handouts from your recent conference. You need to get the DVD to your team today. But you’re in New York and the team is in San Francisco. Even next-day delivery is too slow.

Google Drive to the rescue! Upload the file to your Google Drive, then share the file with your recipients. Your recipients download the file with a browser link, not an attachment sent in email. Problem solved.

You can upload pretty much any format file to Google Drive. Files uploaded retain their native format, unless you want them converted. Word documents remain .docx files. Excel and PowerPoint files remain in .xlsx or .pptx formats. PDF documents stay in .pdf format. Audio, video, disk image files and even compressed (.zip) or executable files can be uploaded.

If you prefer, you can convert Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to their respective Google Drive formats of Docs, Sheets, and Slides. However, the maximum file size you can upload and convert is limited: 2 MB for Docs, 20 MB for Sheets, and 50 MB for Slides. Larger files can be uploaded; they just can’t be converted to Google Drive formats.

And the files you upload can be really large: Google Drive supports the upload of files up to 10 GB. Just to put that in context, 10 GB is roughly more than 400 times the maximum Gmail attachment size. That’s more than enough to upload the data from a dual-layer DVD, which holds around 8.5 GB of data.

Google Drive also works well for storing disk images. For example, I downloaded the latest version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution as an .iso file. The file is around 763 MB when stored on a Chromebox. I uploaded the .iso file to Google Drive. Then I switched to a Windows 8 Pro desktop computer, from which I downloaded and burned the .iso file to a standard DVD. The system booted into the Ubuntu operating system flawlessly from the DVD. So, yes, you can upload your DVD images to Google Drive—just be sure you’re doing so within the proper bounds of copyright laws.

Amusingly, the single-file upload limit of 10 GB is greater than the default storage space allocated to each user of 5 GB. So you could theoretically upload just one DVD image and fill most of your storage space.

Need more storage? You can upgrade your storage as needed by purchasing more storage from Google. Storage plans extend to up to 16 TB of data. Datto Backupify can back up every bit of your Google Drive data, and you can always check to see how much data each user has stored.

With large file sizes, bandwidth upload constraints become critical. Use the Wolfram Alpha file transfer time calculator to estimate transfer times, based on the file size and your Internet connection speed. Transferring a 10 GB file at a speed of 50 Mbps results in a transfer time of more than 26 minutes. Transferring 3 TB of data at the same speed will take more than 3 days. (That’s why Jim Gray famously used overnight delivery servicesto ship large quantities of data on disks inside computers: it was the cheapest, most efficient solution at the time.)

So use your Google Drive to store your files—even your largest files or disk images. And know that Backupify has the bandwidth to keep your files safe, backed up, and ready to restore.


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