Online Service Protects Against Cloud-Killer Outages - InformationWeek

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12/3/2009
10:44 PM
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Online Service Protects Against Cloud-Killer Outages

Worried about your cloud-based data going up in smoke? If you're the paranoid type, a new online service aims to deliver some peace of mind.

Worried about your cloud-based data going up in smoke? If you're the paranoid type, a new online service aims to deliver some peace of mind.Cloud computing service outages don't happen very often, but they do happen. While I didn't notice any of the Gmail outages earlier this year, plenty of other users did.

But what about a cloud outage that actually results in lost data? Could a service like Gmail, Google Docs, or Zoho actually suffer a hiccup (or a heart attack) serious enough to lose your data permanently, in spite of the money these companies pour into their data center infrastructures?

If that sounds like a plausible scenario to you -- never mind the odds that it could actually happen -- then a service called Backupify is worth checking out.

Backupify uses Amazon's S3 cloud storage infrastructure to back up account information and data from other online services. Currenty, Backupify supports 10 services, including Gmail/Google Docs, Facebook, Zoho, Twitter, and Wordpress.

The service offers a minimal free version that supports only Twitter backups; a fully functional subscription will cost between $3.95 and $14.95 per month, depending upon how much storage space you need and what types of content you want backed up. (Backupify offers a 15 day free trial for any subscription level, so be sure to try before you buy.)

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There are a couple of aspects to the Backupify service that I find especially attractive. First, the company's decision to use Amazon S3 for its own storage infrastructure means that you can retrieve your data even if Backupify itself went belly-up.

In addition, Backupify enables users to download a third copy of their data to their own desktop systems, giving them yet another, non cloud-based, level of storage redundancy. In other words, consider yourself covered against pretty much any disaster short of an alien invasion or a killer asteroid.

Is there really a market for a service like Backupify? Honestly, I don't think the world would end for anyone if all of their Twitter posts went poof! tomorrow. On the other hand, there are plenty of business users who now rely heavily upon services like Gmail, Google Docs, and Zoho; if something really did happen to their data (against all odds), there could be serious consequences.

In the end, I suppose anyone weighing their data backup options should consider the same old question: Sure, maybe you're paranoid. But are you paranoid enough?

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