The Business-Technology Weave

Apr 9 2011   11:36AM GMT

In The Cloud, and… In-Accessible?

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


I was doing a bit of reading regarding Amazon’s new Amazon Cloud Drive (“your hard drive in the cloud”).


The emphasis on this free service (with registration, and living within a 5 Gb limit) seems to be on storage of music and video… and, generally, other personal use.  That’s fine… losing files such as those wouldn’t entail a hardship, unless you’re a filmmaker or professional musician.


But what of data?  That is, business data, or critical personal data, such as tax, real estate, investment, etc., data?  Heck, what of irreplaceable family photos?  We could go on…


In the case of Small and Medium Business (SMB), particularly, they are forever (or should be) on the lookout for cost savings.  Free storage?  Oh yeah!  Further, paid plans are available for storage beyond 5 Gb, for a mere buck per Gig per year.  Up to 1,000 Gb.  Sounds very attractive… and, swinging back to households; they can always use a little help with expenses.


I still have a problem.  I like my data to reside on things that I manage.  That I can see, review, update, and restore from… and did I say manage? – in person:  A physical fileserver, disk array… a simple USB drive I can see and touch.   :^)   Call me crazy.


Particularly in the case of storage for backups – why would I want that to go into The Cloud?  Or perhaps more accurately,  A Cloud?  Who’s Cloud?  Oh – Amazon’s?  No problem… until there’s a problem.


It’s not totally an issue of Amazon’s stability and reliability:  If the ’net goes down, for any reason internal (org) or external (ISP, etc.), where’s your data?  In The Cloud – and inaccessible.  For my SMB readers, small government agencies, and people with critical personal files, and/or treasured files, be wary of trusting The Cloud too much.  It will always present vulnerability.


Managing business and IT effectively means closing vulnerabilities and areas of risk:  not widening them.


Hmmm… long before The Cloud, we used to say, “Storage is cheap” – and it is.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats your own local, and close-by offsite backup, physical storage.  Mull it over carefully. 


All of that said, Amazon Cloud Drive does present an affordable utility for the right circumstances. 

Just be sure to understand the ROI vs. TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).  What’s the TCO in the realm of a free service?  Your cost is assumption of vulnerability, risk, and potential for loss; engendered by your distance and removal from control over your own assets.  Recognize that as a price – one that could be very heavy.


For further details regarding Amazon Cloud Drive, I’d like to refer you to Chad Vander Veen’s excellent article, Amazon Makes Play for the Consumer Cloud Crowd.


Stay safe out there.



NP:  Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain, original 1960 LP, on Columbia.  Superb.


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