, a social bookmarking service is down, lost all their user data and they don’t know if / when they can recover.
This is as bad as it can get for any Web 2.0 service (and more importantly for users), and the backlash against Cloud services has already started. Krish will do has a more thoughtful post soon, as a first reaction I’m now taking Stowe Boyd’s approach – a quick overview of how safe my own data is:
- Local Docs
Despite preaching the Cloud, I still have tons of legacy data docs, spreadsheets, PDF’s dating back for 15 years or so. These are synchronized between two home computers, and I am using a mix of services: Syncplicity and Live Mesh (one should be enough, but I have my reasons.. this belongs to another post some day). I also back them up to the Web using Mozy. Finally, I have a local backup on a new 1TB external drive, my Christmas gift to myself, at a cost of 10cents per Gig. I don’t have to move a finger, all this sync and backup happens automatically, in the background.
- Online Docs
I use Zoho for all my current document needs. Technically I could probably figure a procedure to duplicate this data, in fact in the early days I thought of using Syncplicity to sync between Zoho and Google Apps, but I ran into some trouble and have never completed it. I solely rely on Zoho in this respect. Am I in risk? I asked Zoho’s Raju Vegesna for a quick statement:
While we do backup the data, we don’t believe in Restore it. In SaaS, taking down a system to restore data is a sin. Instead, we run multiple copies of the data simultaneously. If one goes down, we don’t restore. Instead, we just move to the second copy and then build another active copy.
In Zoho case, we have multiple copies running in a grid (like Zoho Writer grid for example). If one DB/File System goes down, we move to another. Every grid has a backup. Then we have a backup grid for that data center which aggregates backup from individual grids (writer, sheet, crm etc). The back up grid then transfers the data to another data center (in New York).
My favorite is Gmail, in fact I made it the single repository and searchable archive of all my correspondence since 1996. But I am taking some precautions: I have auto-backup ( via POP) to another Gmail account, one that I don’t ever use for direct emailing, only as an archive. Now, I can hear you – it’s the same provider – but frankly, I doubt Google would just disappear, the type of issues users often suffer are all account-related, so the Gmail backup helps with this.
That said, I also sync my entire Gmail account to Zoho Mail. Partly due to the way Gmail stores data, partly due to filtering ability within Zoho, I have all mail folders, including Sent Mail in sync at any given time, no matter which service I used primarily. A third option would be to occasionally run a copy of Thunderbird on my own PC, and create a local copy – I admit I am too lazy to do this.
- Photos, Music and Movies
Cloud or not, I prefer to have these locally, due to bandwidth constraints. All media files are backed up to the external drive. Photos are also backup up to Syncplicity, and I have a copy at Flickr. (I wish Picasa would auto-sync). Music and movies are not backed online, so if the house burns, so does my entertainment – but, unlike documents, it’s just money, replaceable.
- Paper Documents
I hate them. Solution: scan them via a cheap HP All-in-one into PDF format, then see point#1.
With all that, I feel quite safe. Do you? What’s your backup procedure?
Update: The comment thread below shows a lot of interest in the Gmail / Zoho Mail sync solution. See more details on this at the Zoho Blog.