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The Internet Data Storage

What Do You Do When the Cloud Shuts Down? 203

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the more-to-think-about dept.
jbrodkin writes "Can you trust your data to the cloud? For users of an online storage service called The Linkup, formerly known as MediaMax, the answer turned out to be a resounding 'no.' The Linkup shut down on Aug. 8 after losing access to as much as 45% of its customers' data. 'When we looked at some individual accounts, some people didn't have any files, and some people had all their files,' The Linkup CeO Steve Iverson admits. None of the affected users will get their lost data back. Iverson called it a 'worst-case scenario.'"
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What Do You Do When the Cloud Shuts Down?

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  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:24AM (#24566455) Homepage Journal

    Like anything else, including local technology, the key is to create a backup strategy. The cloud creates special problems for performing and managing backukps, so you need to understand your chosen compute or storage cluster provider's options, as well as other options specific for your application in regards to backups.

    • by pha7boy (1242512) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:33AM (#24566535)
      Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy. One backup to rule them all is not going to work. And for mission critical files would have to be backed up several times.
      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:47AM (#24566667) Homepage Journal

        No kidding. Why do you think I said 'backups' three times in the subject line? ;) That's what I mean by a 'backup strategy' -- backup strategies, which are sometimes called 'disaster recovery plans', though that's really a bigger plan that includes a backup strategy, include making multiple redundant backups, offsite storage of backups, considerations for multiple different media, etc. There are several 'best practices', but the best strategy is going to be different for each company or department and often even for each application.

        The best thing to do is to examine what kind(s) of data there is in the set, how large that data set is, how often that data gets updated, how often it needs to be accessed, and what are the potential costs for losing a day's, week's, month's, year's etc. worth of that data. That will point you in the direction as to frequency of backups, types of backups, etc.

        Offsite backups are essential for any data requiring backup.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NorbrookC (674063)

          There's now the assumption (and we all know what assume means) that if it's "in the cloud," the data is safe or backed up somewhere. Servers fail. Backups fail. Software glitches happen. Disasters - natural or other - happen. Even if you're lucky and you don't lose the actual data, losing access to it is the same - and for an extended length of time, it can be expensive.

          No matter how much we preach to the choir, it seems that most people simply don't get the message.

        • by bjk002 (757977) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:41AM (#24569483)

          "No kidding. Why do you think I said 'backups' three times in the subject line?"

          I think he was just backing up your statement!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Redundancy, redundancy, off-site redundancy

        There, fixed that for you. Backups aren't worth a damn if the building is blown up.

        Hm, there seems to be a pizza van outside my residence...

        • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:44AM (#24568513)

          There, fixed that for you. Backups aren't worth a damn if the building is blown up.

          Yeah, I already thought of that. *smug* I have a script that backs up all my files from our servers in WTC1 to our servers in WTC2. What are the odds we could lose both sets of servers?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by westlake (615356)
            I have a script that backs up all my files from our servers in WTC1 to our servers in WTC2. What are the odds we could lose both sets of servers?
            .

            setting asside any questions of bad taste....

            there is a real argument to be made here for "security through obscurity."

            for choosing the small town industrial site that the locals haven't given a thought to in thirty-five years.

        • Backups aren't worth a damn if the building is blown up.

          So what's worth a damn if the planet is blown up?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by laejoh (648921)

        Yeah, redundancy is the reason why I still have porn magazines hidden underneat the mattress! One backup to rule them all, and several magazines for the mission critical porn (don't ask!)

      • Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.
        Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.

        COME ON!!!! Whooo!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Firehed (942385)

      True, but the cloud (at least in theory) also gives you ubiquitous access to your data from any location - when it's online, of course. I think it's best to treat it as the centralized synchronization point that you work from day-to-day (think: email, calendar) so that it's consistent across your devices, but have at least one system that YOU control periodically backing up that data.

      The issues with services like Gmail and Amazon S3 tend not to be with hardware failures, but with software problems. Recent

      • by g0dsp33d (849253)
        I agree. I don't know what the service contract stated, but for online storage, I'd want my critical data mirrored in at least at two locations.

        Essentially, if any claims were made guaranteeing the data, they should sue. If there was not a guarantee, than they shouldn't have expected it to be safe as the only copy of their data.
    • by daeg (828071) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:22AM (#24568089)

      Don't forget to have a RESTORE strategy in place, too, and one that can be executed by others. Redundant backups don't do any good if you don't know how to restore from them, and know approximately how long it will take to restore.

      We set up a test system identical to a few of our servers and had non-IT people execute the restoration plan for the core applications/data our business needs. There were a few flaws in the plan but it was a GREAT learning tool.

    • by faloi (738831)
      It's like all other tools. If you only have one, when there's an emergency you'll probably have zero.
    • Umm, I'm pretty sure the cloud was supposed to be the backup... I'm just sayin'...

      • Well, I guess you get what you pay for when you trust your data to a company that calls itself Nirvanix of all things... (the link to Nirvanix in the article is also very telling)

        On a more serious note:
        According to TFA (yes, I actually read it) they had 20000 paying customers, no less. How ridiculously stupid do you have to be to run a business based on storing data for other people and not putting a working backup strategy into place?!

        They should really be sue'd into oblivion for stupidity alone. In fact,

    • by kestasjk (933987)
      Urgh, "cloud" this, "cloud" that.. I really hope this is turns out to be a fad buzzword.
      • It was never anything else.

        There simply aren't any compelling advantages to trusting some external, remote service with your data that can't be had by setting up your own centralised resources in-house and accessing them the same way, but there certainly are compelling disadvantages in terms of robustness and security. The "Google/Amazon will never break", "I trust Google more than my own guys with my data" claptrap doesn't hold much water in light of several recent incidents of significant downtime and/or

    • by lawpoop (604919) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:07AM (#24568899) Homepage Journal
      This is why I always thought that cloud computing based on servers would be disastrous. What if the server goes down? Well, here's a case in point. You lose everything.

      I proposed an idea [halfbakery.com] like a P2P backup. Say you have some 20 GB you want to back up. You make 20 GB available on your system, and fire up a P2P backup program. You partner with people who want to backup also, trade backup space, and voila! You have a distributed backup system. It's all encrypted, so you can't get into other people's stuff on your system, and vice-versa. Periodically, the app checks to make sure that all your backup partners are available. If not, it starts negotiating a backup with a new partner.

      Of course, you don't want to lose your stuff to a single host going down, you would have a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 to make sure that you have high availability.
    • by gilgongo (57446) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:59PM (#24570795) Homepage Journal

      I don't have any way of verifying this story, but I worked with an old guy once who told me that he had been at a startup in the UK that was, by the sound of it, creating a kind of IMDB in about 1994. They had a team of researchers and a bunch of seed capital to create a large film database. Everything was ticking along for about 18 months and they had researched thousands of films.

      Then one day, the database shut down and they traced it to some bad hardware. They replaced the hardware and restored the database from the previous night's backup. Nothing doing - the backup tape (he said it was DAT) was corrupt. So they tried the other one. Nada. Same corruption. So they tried the off-site one. Same thing. Turned out all the backups they had made seem to have transferred the same corruption resulting in nothing significant recoverable.

      Had they tried a test restore at some point, they might have found out. As it was, a week after the crash, they shut the business down.

      Which reminds me of another (maybe apocryphal) story: the head of IT as a large company was fond of organising disaster recovery practices by walking into the data centre, physically removing a (pre-ordained) server and leaving a note in its place with the words "The server crashed" written on it. The support staff (and presumably management) knew that this would happen, but not when, or which machine (or dependent services) would be affected. Interesting test I would say.

  • Not a new problem! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:28AM (#24566491)

    What do you do when your local computer shuts down? How about a server on your company intranet? The cloud is no different. Backups are your friend!

    • by hcdejong (561314)

      The cloud is no different.

      Yes and no. It rather depends on how you access the data. I still associate cloud computing with horrid, web-only interfaces. If you can mount the remote disk and have random access to the filesystem, backups get a lot easier.

    • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:54AM (#24566723)
      Kinda funny when you think about it, the backups are stored locally and the working copies are stored far away.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Which leads me to this question...why is the cloud not doing backups? The cloud provider should be backing up the data within the cloud. I had assumed (wrongfully it turns out) that one of the benefits of using a cloud was that your data was backed up in some distributed fashion. It turns out that doesn't seem to be the case.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jollyreaper (513215)

          Which leads me to this question...why is the cloud not doing backups? The cloud provider should be backing up the data within the cloud. I had assumed (wrongfully it turns out) that one of the benefits of using a cloud was that your data was backed up in some distributed fashion. It turns out that doesn't seem to be the case.

          That is what's happening, when the cloud is working properly. Google has a zillion servers for running Docs. Any one server dies, I don't even know about it because another steps in seamlessly.

          But what happens if the whole damn cloud dies? What happens if Google goes tits up, changes terms of service, whatever?

          At least for Docs, I still have the local viewer and can export from there.

          I'm thinking that the best concept for cloud computing in practical terms would be the route Google is going, a mix between s

        • by mcrbids (148650)

          I had assumed (wrongfully it turns out) that one of the benefits of using a cloud was that your data was backed up in some distributed fashion. It turns out that doesn't seem to be the case.

          As a hosted-application provider, I can assure you that we have backups of backups, redundant to three different locations, never more than 24 hours old. Our recovery process is intrinsic to our day-to-day operation. (we use our failover hosting as a staging environment for public testing of new features, so that we KNOW

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tim C (15259)

      What do you do when your local computer shuts down? How about a server on your company intranet?

      Well with the former I can pull the hard drive and shove it in a new machine and be at least trying to recover my data inside of an hour. With the latter, the systems team could be doing the equivalent inside of a day (as the servers don't tend to be in the office).

      If my remote document storage/app server/whatever goes down, even transiently, there's nothing I can do until it comes back up (other than hope that i

      • Well with the former I can pull the hard drive and shove it in a new machine and be at least trying to recover my data inside of an hour. With the latter, the systems team could be doing the equivalent inside of a day (as the servers don't tend to be in the office).

        If my remote document storage/app server/whatever goes down, even transiently, there's nothing I can do until it comes back up (other than hope that it does come back up).

        So yes, backups are your friend, but the situation isn't quite the same.

        May

  • Backup, Storage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cytlid (95255) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:31AM (#24566511)

    I can't believe this article. The number of places you store your data is directly related to the level of which it's important to you. People put all their data in once place then cry when it's gone? How is this new?

    Isn't this akin to dumping all you money into one stock then whining when it tanks?

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      That is true. Be responsible for your own backups. The cloud should be for convenience only, and you shouldn't expect it to always be available for the rest of your life, and at every minute of every day. That being said, I think that there could be a lot better solutions than most services seem to offer. I think the whole idea of cloud computing is flawed. I think a much better idea would be to tote all you data, and programs, and maybe even OS around on a USB key or USB Hard Drive (depending on your
    • Re:Backup, Storage (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Firehed (942385) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:56AM (#24566757) Homepage

      Isn't this akin to dumping all you money into one stock then whining when it tanks?

      Sure, but that doesn't stop people from doing exactly that.

    • not quite. It depends on what the service is offering. If they are guaranteeing redundant storage at multiple locations, protected against earthquake and volcanoes then you could reasonably expect the service to not crash irrecoverably.

      In any case they promise a storage for your data. I would imagine they also take responsibility for its loss. It's not like stock but more like putting things in storage.

      Of course with physical storage I would expect a ton of disclaimers or a mandatory insurance policy..

    • Yes but playing the odds can result in 2% lower costs.

      Which means your products are 4% cheaper than a competitor who is using good backup strategies.
      So if the odds work in your favor, your competitor goes out of business before you get hit by something bad like this.

      Companies make these kind of hard choices all the time. And a lot of times, they successfully destroy their competitors and hear the lamentations of their women.

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:31AM (#24566515) Journal

    Open the curtains and let the sunshine in, and water the garden.

    Oh, you mean the network... what kind of fool trusts his data with someone else?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houghi (78078)

      A fool and his data are soon to be parted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dnwq (910646)

      Oh, you mean the network... what kind of fool trusts his data with someone else?

      I build my own hard drives and power supply too!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DingerX (847589)
      Maybe the same kinds of fools who trust their money with someone else.

      Seriously, cloud storage is very useful as part of a backup strategy -- offsite, maintained to professional standards. It's even more useful for geographically-disperse projects (or when I need to get at my files on the move).

      But running a company that provides this sort of service is like running a bank. It's too bad Nirvanix thinks that this isn't their problem. Even if it's a screwup by an administer from the part of the old company
      • Agreed. I wonder what the TOS looks like for both companies? If they had 20,000 paying customers and they suddenly went {POOF}, you'd think that some of those customers might be annoyed enough about it to lawyer up.

        Without knowing any of the details (since both sides seem very cagey about the specifics), it looks more like a classic case of a company running out of money and closing up shop with scant notice to their clients. I can't imagine anyone trusting what's left of this venture with any data in th

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Millions of em, by the looks of it. Although your comment did lead me to a nice modern-day proverb:
      "A fool and his data are soon parted."

    • by dave420 (699308)
      You made your own computer? Wow!
  • Well DUH! (Score:2, Redundant)

    by houghi (78078)

    Rule number one is to be able to restore those backups.
    Rule number two is to have backups.
    Rule number three is if you forget rule number one and two, don't come crying.

    And yes, restoring data is more important then backing up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by spoonist (32012)

      No, no, no, you have it all wrong.

      The first rule of backups is: "You do not talk about backups."

    • by linuxelf (123067)

      "restoring data is more important then backing up" Now how are you going to restore data and THEN back it up??

    • by Kamokazi (1080091)

      And yes, restoring data is more important then backing up.

      I understand what you're getting at, but it's not exactly true.

      Restoring data is equally as important as backing up. If you have no worthwhile data to restore, then it doesn't matter how efficiently you can restore. And likewise, if you have backed up data but can't restore, then what good is the backup? You have to make regular backups and test them regularly.

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      I love the "redundant" moderation of parent.

  • The critical flaw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nephroth (586753) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:39AM (#24566595)
    The critical flaw of cloud computing is that you entrust your data to a third party. If you are at all concerned with privacy you will think cloud computing is a terrible idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bencoder (1197139)
      Well that's what encryption is for. Seriously, I'd much much rather have my data encrypted on a remote server than have it unencrypted on my own computer, especially if I ever want to go to the US.
      In fact, even if it's encrypted locally, that means I'm even more likely to lose it at the border because if it's encrypted then surely I'm an evil terrorist come to take away all your freedoms that you enjoy, such as your protection from unreasonable search or seizure...
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        That works well if your definition of a cloud is "webdav". But what about all the other cloud features, where whole applications are available on the cloud, and your data is actually manipulated by server side code? If we were just talking webdav here, backups would be a lot easier. But with many cloud offerings, there simply isn't a way to download all your data with one command. Also, for clouds that do offer applications, download just the files may not be enough, as you would have your files, but mi
      • come to take away all your freedoms that you enjoy, such as your protection from unreasonable search or seizure...

        Quiet you! move along...we don't allow unpatriotic trouble makers here! Sigh, unfortunately this is the type of response that we get from our government these days.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What's preventing a service that does encryption/decryption on the client side? Other than the lack of desire from the providers I mean.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 (468275)

        What's preventing a service that does encryption/decryption on the client side? Other than the lack of desire from the providers I mean.

        I think there are several issues, and lack of interest from providers is actually among the least of them. Lack of interest from users is probably the biggest issue. Many people just don't care that much about the privacy of their data -- they either honestly don't care who sees their stuff, or don't care enough to be willing to expend any effort or time preventing it. Adding a well-designed encryption feature to a backup service would add complexity and expense, and if people aren't willing to pay for t

    • by iwein (561027)
      Am I to believe you solder your own storage devices? You have to either trust a party to not be a moron or not be a moron yourself.

      The trust in this instance was clearly misplaced.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phoenix.bam! (642635)
      Cloud computing is no different than any other hosting service. Shared hosting, a colo box, a virtual machine, or a cloud account are all vulnerable. So unless you have a direct line to a tier1 backbone you're going to have to put your data into someone else's hands at some point.
    • The critical flaw of cloud computing is that you entrust your data to a third party. If you are at all concerned with privacy you will think cloud computing is a terrible idea.

      Or you'll just make sure your data is encrypted before sending it out to the 3rd party for storage... Just like, if you're really concerned with privacy, you'll be encrypting the data locally as well.

      Now, of course, for a cloud system where you're using someone else's CPU cycles that may not work... You might not be able to keep the data encrypted... But that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about simple file storage. And there's absolutely no reason why you can't encrypt the files yo

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      The problem isn't so much that you have to trust your data to a third party. The problem is lack of regulation and standards for the the "cloud".
      We trust our money to third parties "banks" and that works pretty well.
      A professionally run company should do as good of a job securing your data as bank does securing your money.
      This company is a good example of a really bad company. It seems they took less care in migrating their customers data than my company did in migrating our customers website accounts.

    • by Slurpee (4012)

      The critical flaw of cloud computing is that you entrust your data to a third party. If you are at all concerned with privacy you will think cloud computing is a terrible idea.

      Not really. There are two issues you raise 1) Entrusting your data to a third party. 2) Privacy concerns.

      1) In some cases, a third party will do a better job at backing up your data then yourself or your company. This is the real world - outsourcing sometimes is a good idea. But be careful. Everyone stuffs up - who is more likely

    • Cloud computing isn't a bad thing. We do some of it, but mostly not. What needs to happen is a the creation of standards.

      If we had standards for how cloud computing is done, we could start down the road towards RAIC - or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Clouds. That way the data and applications can be mirrored between various clouds should one fail.

      For example, right now I have my pictures backed up to an online photo sharing site. What happens if that site were to disappear? My computer's crashed an

  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:42AM (#24566621) Homepage
    ...they can have my local computing and storage capabilities when they pry them from my cold, dead hands. Google is great for looking things up -- and webmail accounts are great for portability -- but the old saying applies: If you want something done (backed up, available), do it yourself. Much more secure that way, too.

    Besides, with Remote Desktop, FOUSs*, and continuous 'Net connections, it's pretty easy to take it with you.


    * (8GB on a microSDHC the size of my fingernail is a Flashdrive Of Unusual Size in my book!)
  • An old maxim: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tinfoil (109794) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:42AM (#24566623) Homepage Journal

    If you want something done right, do it yourself.

    Those who would knowingly trust their data to an outside (and relatively untested) organization without having a backup in place are just asking for something like this to happen.

    Oh, ya, backups are hard.

    • by dzfoo (772245)

      So what you're saying is that...

      Those who would give up their Essential Data to purchase Temporary Convenience, deserve neither Data nor Convenience.

              -dZ.

    • by Godji (957148)

      If you want something done right, do it yourself.

      I'll build my own cloud! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget about the cloud!

    • If you want something done right, do it yourself.

      You know something, yesterday I got a filling in one of my teeth. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to let my dentist do it; but now that I read your Insightful post, I'm not so sure.

      The filling seems OK to me, but how can I be sure if I didn't do it myself? I'm really starting to regret allowing a licensed professional with over 25 years of experience perform that medical procedure on me. After all, if I really wanted it done right, I would have done it myself (despite the fact that my knowledge of

  • Like all current buzzwords people jump onto them with a vague understanding on what they are and what they do. Just to be buzzword complaint. Clouds are rather complicated to maintain and operate and are really for only some very particular tasks. Most companies and people don't need them and shouldn't use them, as it is to much effort for the gain. So you doubled performance however you need 3 times the IT Staff hours to keep it operating smoothly and manage the cloud, it really isn't worth it for most cas

  • by cohomology (111648) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:51AM (#24566705)

    Every year, I read the terms of service of a bunch of online backup services, but I have not found one that gives the provider any incentive to be careful. They say they have *no liability of any kind*. Why should I trust them?

    I will cheerfully pay to insure access to my data, but nobody offers me insurance.

  • by anomnomnomymous (1321267) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:53AM (#24566713)
    I had this overly insightful comment... but it all got lost when I submitted it.

    And now look what I'm left with!
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:00AM (#24566815)

    A few years ago, I had my websites hosted at this one company, Digi-Wave. They were great for a few years, but suddenly their servers were down. For a week. Yes, I said a week. The servers came up again briefly before going down again, but in that brief span, I managed to backup my database and files. When I called their support line, I was told that their servers were infected with Code Red (IIRC, I know it was one of those IIS worms). I knew this was a bogus answer because the fix to Code Red infection was: 1) disconnect the machine from the 'Net, 2) reboot it, 3) apply the patch (possibly rebooting again), 4) reconnect to the 'Net. It shouldn't have taken them over a week to fix this.

    Then they stopped answering support calls and their phone's inbox filled up until it stopped accepting recordings. By this time, I contacted my credit card company to get my money back and had made arrangements with another hosting provider. I was lucky to have retained my data. Many were not so lucky. And to add insult to injury, after Digi-Wave folded, another hosting company arose with a different name but the same contact information.

    The moral of this story is to always backup. Because you never know when the cloud, your webhost, or even your personally owned and run server will go south and take your data with it.

  • I don't even trust IMAP to store my email remotely - I still use POP and make backups. I suppose that might change in the future now that the internet is more accessible - my previous internet provider thought "high speed internet" involved their replacing the 33kb modem bank with V.90 units. What can I say, I used to live out in the sticks.

    I like the idea of access to everything, from everywhere, but I think I'd still prefer to have the "master" copies at "home" and have the remote files synchronized to th

  • People who follow fads get what they deserve. If you have something on one server, and you know where it is even if it's hosted, then that is at least something. Backups are still important though, obviously. However, in a cloud it could be anywhere. If you lose one part of the cloud then your data is essentially useless. Backups become even more important.
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:16AM (#24567053) Homepage

    This version [networkworld.com] may be easier to read.

    Bottom line: The Linkup is blaming Nirvanix (a third-party service provider) which is, of course, blaming The Linkup. FTA:

    Nirvanix says it has not deleted any customer data, and promises that its Storage Delivery Network is immune to the problem that plagued The Linkup. At The Linkup, a "system administrator ran a script that misidentified active account data and disassociated physical files from their owners," Nirvanix says. "This led to files being marked offline in the old Streamload/MediaMax file system when they shouldn't have been." Iverson, meanwhile, claims it was a Nirvanix engineer who caused the data loss.

    Summary: "He did it." "No, he did it." "No, it was him!" "You did it FIRST!" "Idiot!" "Moron!" "Jackass!" ** customers shoot them both **

  • What Do You Do When the Cloud Shuts Down?

    I pull out an umbrella!

  • I may sound like the grumpy old "told-you-so" guy on this one, but who in their right mind would trust the cloud with their important data?

    When these days computers and storage are so cheap, why does anyone bother with cloud storage, with all the complexity, reliability, security and privacy issues that it entails?

    Seriously, get down to Earth! The cloud is overrated. I will go as far as to claim that the cloud is nothing more than the uber-buzzword of 2008.
  • The cloud didn't go away. One company did.

    I use an online storage facility, but I do not store irreplaceable or unique copies of anything there. At best, it's tertiary storage.

    Make multiple copies. Stash them in multiple places. The odds of all of them vanishing are almost nil.

    And think about what you're trying to protect. Don't be a packrat. Don't waste time and money backing up something you haven't used or seen in years.

  • Does anybody remember Visto.com, formerly Briefcase.com? They had an incredible cloud storage and synchronization engine that I still have not found a suitable replacement for, and this was back in like 1998, way before Gmail and all the other glorious Google tools. They were so far ahead of their time it's ridiculous! Only 25mb of free storage, but still, back then, that was unheard of! Back in the day, their *free* service offered a tool you could download to your local machine, This tool would establ
  • Can someone please explain to me why the overloaded term "cloud" was used in this summary? Other than for buzzword-compliance?

    I don't see anything related to cloud computing here.

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:36AM (#24569417)

    I used to work at a Storage Service Provider back in the dotcom era (StorageNetworks baby!), and before you sign up for any type of service provider that would be providing access to your data you need to go over that contract with a fine toothed comb. Two areas that need to be covered are:

    What happens if the SSP goes out of business, how do you get your data back? In our contracts we would give you your data back either via access to the old arrays for X days to copy it somewhere else. Worst case: We drop a truckload of tapes off on your doorstep.

    Financial impact of loss of service. We had many financial customers that wanted to make sure we had "enough cash in the bank" to cover their financial losses if they suffered any downtime due to an issue on our end.

    Just like picking a hosting provider, you need to make sure you have contingency plans for data loss or corruption. If the SSP can't provide you with the services you need (backups, snapshots etc..), find another provider.

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