Following a brief chat on Twitter this morning about the virtues of backups, I thought I’d continue my long running Faith in the Cloud series.
I see a lot of people pinning their entire tech lifestyle on cloud computing, whether it’s holding all their pics on Flickr or having all their documents on Google. When something goes wrong, a service goes down or the service provider suggests they may be shutting up shop, there is this suggestion that the world is ending, what will we do with our data, oh woe is me!
See, I think this “all eggs in one basket” approach is wrong. So utterly wrong. Cloud storage is a superb way of backing up our data and having it accessible anywhere to share with anyone; but there’s the thing. It’s a backup. Cloud storage is not, and won’t be for the foreseeable future, a replacement for a physical hard copy of your data.
Take my approach to family photos and movies, for example. After several near misses where I almost lost these memories of our kids, I decided to take action to have more than one copy. I looked to Google who provide very decently priced cloud storage and took on a three pronged approach.
I keep all the original copies of our pics on my PC and regularly back up to an external HDD as well as Google’s Picasa service. Why Picasa? Well it’s the convenience. I can use a Windows Live Gallery plugin to simply throw an entire months worth of photos up to the service with one click. If I need to retrieve them I can use the Picasa software, as well as Android and iOS apps which are ideal for showing snaps to relatives while on the go.
The cloud is looking promising – imagine that always connected world where we no longer need physical storage, where hardware costs [should] go down as a result of this. Video games are starting to show this with services like Steam and OnLive allowing people to take their content with them, access them from anywhere, but the infrastructure for us to put our trust in this for personal data is still a ways off.