back to article Trust the cloud with my PRECIOUS? You gotta be joking

Being a hardcore music geek of a certain age, I own several thousand LPs, CDs, and cassettes that I accumulated over the course of several decades. But as any serious record buff knows, collections like this are not remotely scaleable. I have several closets bursting with music in assorted physical media and I know people who …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet...

    ... It's safe to store other data on the cloud? I see it as a backup or convenience. Not as a replacement for local copies. That goes for personal files or business needs. I'm waiting for the small company I work for to suddenly realize moving their email client from Outlook to Hotmail/online services is a bad idea when they need that one hard copy email and the online server/phoneline is down. :P (A hard copy is available on our servers currently, so is both backed up and always accessible)

    1. VinceH

      Re: Yet...

      Quite so. I'm happy to use a cloud-based backup service, but the original data remains on my storage devices, where I can use it when I please, internet connection or not.

      I do use a cloud-based system for one client, but it was their choice, and they're paying the bills.

    2. Chris_Maresca

      Or you can get the best of both worlds....

      Murfie will store both your physical CDs and give you streaming access to them through their service.

      https://www.murfie.com/features

      Of course, you can also have a local electronic copies of your music as well....

      1. boltar Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Or you can get the best of both worlds....

        "Murfie will store both your physical CDs"

        Thanks but no thanks. If I ever want to store my CDs somewhere it'll be in a local secure storage facility run by a well known company , not yet another web startup run by latte sipping chino dudes who'll be out of business this time next year with my CDs being used as collateral to pay off debtors.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Or you can get the best of both worlds....

          "Thanks but no thanks. If I ever want to store my CDs somewhere it'll be in a local secure storage facility run by a well known company , not yet another web startup run by latte sipping chino dudes who'll be out of business this time next year with my CDs being used as collateral to pay off debtors."

          That's a good point, that I hadn't thought of. And I bet the people who store stuff there haven't though of it either. We should be able to assume that the contract you sign makes it clear that they are your possessions and you are storing it there, but I'm sure nobody read the fine print and consulted a lawyer over it.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Or you can get the best of both worlds....

            "We should be able to assume that the contract you sign makes it clear that they are your possessions and you are storing it there, but I'm sure nobody read the fine print and consulted a lawyer over it."

            There's probably some "we can do what we like with them" clause buried deep in it somewhere. And besides which , when a small company goes bust the former owners tend not to care what happens to physical stuff (just the money and IP) or who breaks into the now unguarded warehouse/office. At the best you'll have to hire a van and go get them all yourself, at worst they'll be gone and all you'll get is a shoulder shrug from the financial administrators and if you're lucky a cheque covering their insurance value.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Terms and conditions

          Recently a dispute with a tenant, rental agency and landlord escalated.

          The tenants ( two professionals, one an 'airline pilot'). wanted to sue the landlord for damage to their personal property from a problem found in the house. The rental agency rehoused them on a temporary basis to address the problem even though the tenants had not paid the original rent of £1000 per month for the last 4 months. The tenants refused to allow anyone into the property to rectify the 'problem'. The landlords asked for a second opinion and found that the tenants were telling porkies and avoiding paying the rent.

          A court order was made banning the tenant from the original property without being accompanied by the landlords solicitors. The tenants property was left in the original house and it took them 38 weeks to get access and remove their belongings.

          The tenants continued with their legal action against the landlord and now the rental agency for damages and not being able to access the house they rented (even though they never paid a penny in rent) and it was proved they were talking porkies.

          The landlord and now the rental agency were obliged to take legal advice and fight the claim. The tenants paid no rent for the temporary rehousing valued at £1400 per month for over three months.

          The cost in fighting the action was expensive running into nearly £18,000. The tenants continued with the no win no fee solicitors for 12 months and then disappeared into the ether never to be seen or heard of again.

          The rental agency contract, terms and conditions were relatively simple.

          Imagine the complexity involved dealing with a cloud provider and other third parties located in a different country and trying to retrieve your personal data ................ You have no chance.

          I for one will keep my own data.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Terms and conditions

            Or the new business owner of a shop, paying rent to the landlord of £1250 an month, refitting the shop themselves to the tune of £15,000 with new equipment etc.

            The business was profitable.

            However the landlord was not paying the mortgage and even remortgaged the building several times.

            One day five months after opening the building was repossessed by the bank, the business owner was not able to access the property for a period of time, the tenancy agreement was useless. The bank sold the building and the new owner decided to treble the rent to £3750 per month. The business was no longer profitable and went bust.

            The moral of the story, don't rely on other people to be honest and nice and fair in business.

            1. LOL123
              Facepalm

              Re: Terms and conditions

              Is this not a hyper cynical view of things?

              So even if you did your own cloud and/or storage, who would be trust with the hard disk? The computer parts? The power supply?

              Protection from floods? What about cosmic rays bit flipping your data? Can't even trust the universe!

              I think the obvious solution is to keep data local and in the cloud. You multiply the probabilities of failure there and things look good enough.

              It's about redundancy and convenience.

              PS: Those tenants were nasty though. But not paying rent was an early warning. One month and begin proceedings. Another two months and you're out.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. BillG
      Meh

      Re: Yet...

      In an age of cheap 350G hard drives and 32G microSD card mobile storage, is there really any NEED for cloud-based storage?

      Backups? Get a cheap 500G HD with a USB enclosure.

      Just ask the victims of Hurricane Sandy. With no electricity and cell towers down, cloud storage is no storage.

  2. g e
    Holmes

    Quite right, too

    That's why I have 3TB of drives RAIDed together on the home server. No way would I trust all my shit to some cloudy storage outfit. I have the final say-so over the existence (or not) of my data and at least if I jigger it up my excuse to the wife of where her 1000's of photos have gone is 'I screwed up' instead of 'dunno, perhaps there's someone I can call somewhere'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite right, too

      Amen brother!

      I once lost 175GB ( 42,000 image ) library of my wife's family photos stretching back generations! If I hadn't recovered it and then done same, bought a pair of mirrored 6TB NAS units to prove I won't ever allow it to happen again, I'd be singing castrato and/or sleeping in my car!

      I know that whatever we have is ours and ours alone, it cannot be poured over marketing mob for all that valuable music, video and image data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        AC 11:23

        Perhaps, instead of getting angry with you, your wife could learn about the technology so she could make her own informed decisions on your photo storage options.

        Saying "I don't do technology" is not really ok any more. Everyone does technology now, in the same way that everyone does oxygen. My parents said some years back "We don't do email". The result? No-one contacts them any more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AC 11:23

          I tried that but now I have to make my own dinner. Beyatch.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AC 11:23

          I tried that but now I have to make my own dinner. Beyatch!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: AC 11:23

            I have the work backups at home.

            I have the home backups at work.

            We are both fine unless we get two simultaneous fires, in which case we are both a little screwed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re; Quite right, too

        Just a pair?

        I keep a set of 3 disks.

        At all times one is off-site.

        I have a TrueCrypt container on each disk and use Beyond Compare to synchronise files between any two disks at a time.

        The problem with a mere pair is that they have to be physically located in the same place to do the copy. Which means that fire, flood, government agency breaking down your door, or burglary can render your data gone.

        Think: physical diversity!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite right, too

      "That's why I have 3TB of drives RAIDed together on the home server"

      Well, suitably backed up to a different location that'll be fine, otherwise you're unprotected against 50% of data risks.

      1. frymaster

        Re: Quite right, too

        "Well, suitably backed up to a different location that'll be fine, otherwise you're unprotected against 50% of data risks."

        ...and 100% of "accidentally hitting the delete key" risks

        RAID is nice; backups are vital

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quite right, too

          And a house fire can happily dispose of both.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Quite right, too

            He did say "a different location". Cynic much?

          2. Dave Bell

            Re: Quite right, too

            Thing is, cloud storage is another layer of protection. As long as you have the UserID and password. I have stuff on the Cloud, because it makes it easily accessible for several computers, but it isn't only on the Cloud.

            That doesn't do anything about the privacy doubts. Maybe encryption? But that still depends on passwords.

            Passwords: how can you be sure that you won't lose those?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quite right, too

        Well done. The glass is half full. You are protected against 50% of data risks

      3. itzman

        Re: Quite right, too

        ER no. Biggest source of data loss is hard drive collapse. Or teh drivce controller in a RAID system that corrip[ts all the data.

        Having two local systems is enough..

        Its VERY rare to lose data due to fire or premises loss.

  3. Jude Bradley
    Linux

    I'm so glad...

    I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: I'm so glad...

      Yet in other threads about 'The Cloud', people who express reservations about betting their business/family/etc to cloud storage get downvoted like mad.

      I use bropbox for temp copy use only. That's it. You can stick your syncing of your mobile etc up where it hurts.

      It might work for some but some of us have been in the IT biz long enough to know that losing control of your data is a bad idea. (I've been working with computers for 40years, from the days of punched cards).

      I have multiple (where multiple > 2 ) copies of everything important stored in separate buildings as I've seen what damage a fire can do. Yes I'm slightly paranoid (excellent album by the Sabbath btw) but I think it is better to be safe than sorry.

      1. Silverburn
        Thumb Up

        Re: I'm so glad...

        I'm one of the downvote recipients - thank god others see sense too - maybe I'll stop getting downvoted now.

    2. SwitchBlade

      Re: I'm so glad...

      Have to admit, I was starting to think that I was the only one too with everyone seemingly putting everything into the cloud. Especially with my friends insistence on shoving all their music onto Google's music thingy when that launched.

      I feel much safer having my own dedicated box in a DC for my offsite backups and allowing me remote access to my media/files.

      1. MacGyver
        Big Brother

        Re: I'm so glad...

        I think the scariest part is that history is basically being stored in the cloud, and that makes it really easy to change it. I watched some DVDs of "Mad about You" recently and was shocked to learn that in 1996 the World Trade Center towers didn't exist in the New York skyline (according to the Sony Corporation and and the media they own). Sony, for whatever reason, decided it would be ok to remove all references from the DVDs they released. Like it or not, Sony decided that history should be the way they wanted it, and because the own the rights, they make the history. I worry about this going forward, how many other things are going to be "fixed" to spare our feelings, or because some government somewhere deems something as dangerous, it will be removed from our collective history. Without a hard copy somewhere, reality is simply a matter of "Find/Replace", and that can't end well.

        It's like they say "History repeats itself.". At least until they change that saying.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'But if all that music were stored in the cloud, a simple invocation of the Unix rm command could make it disappear in a couple of milliseconds. "

    That's a bit over the top but I do agree that I think this cloud storage malarky needs to be a bit more mature before I consider signing up with all my precious stuff. My biggest fear is the same as expressed, it's a perfect excuse the dirty money-men to farm the shit out of all that meta-data about your life, just looking through your music and video collection is enough to pigeon-hole you in some category for easy marketing.

    Although I'd be genuinely interested what they'd make of mine and my wife's MP3 collections as it ranges through many genres Public Enemy, Katy Perry, Tone Loc, Nicky Minaj, Coldplay, Saxon, Star Sailor, Bach, Cannibal Corpse, Elgar, Alien Sex Fiend, Sisters of Mercy, Iron Maiden and Goreguts to name just a handful!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Should produce some interesting marketing suggestions though when Saxon and kylie get fed into the Ad-men's neural net.

      I once bought a particularly gruesome pathology textbook (for a work project) and a bunch of Hello kitty stuff (niece brithday) and got some very weird recommendations. from Amazon

      1. Dave Bell

        Wearing my writer's hat...

        I sometimes post stuff to a mailing list devoted to a particular shared-world setting: it's a lot of fun writing it, and reading others' stories. The mailing list is run by Yahoo, and of course there are directed adverts, and often they're quite relevant to the story. Pity they're set around eighty years ago, in the days of doped linen fabric, flying wires, and other ancient aviation technology, though it seems there are still companies which supply new Whitworth spanners.

        Though I am not sure that Amazon is the site I would search for them. Amazon handles a lot of transaction processing and warehousing/delivery for other traders, but every search term seems to get a response from them. Which can soon begin to seem a little optimistic on their part. Especially when some of the brandnames they pick up on from the fiction are, as far as I know, fictional.

  5. Kevin Johnston

    Ah, the cloud

    People I speak to always look pityingly at me when the conversation heads this direction. They know what I am going to say and almost universally manage to imply I am a little soft in the head without ever giving offence.

    Option 1 - private data centre....you know what it is, where it is and what is going on....OK, you do have to look after it but if you love your data then is that such a hardship?

    Option 2 - contracted data centre....you know what it is and where it is and you have a piece of paper saying they will love your data in just the way you do....it does sometimes take a little longer for things to happen but these guys are professionals right?

    Option 3 - the cloud....you know who sells access to it, and quite possibly you can track down the owner of the data centre, always assuming you knew which one your data was in when you did the search. You have a piece of paper which says they would love to have your data and they will take care of each and every byte. Of course this may not 'quite' meet those pernickity regulators requirements as you can't quite be sure who is looking at it or playing with it but it's close enough surely?

    Once that data is outside your firewall then control is down to the weakest link, and that won't be you.

    1. Psyx

      Re: Ah, the cloud

      "OK, you do have to look after it but if you love your data then is that such a hardship?"

      Storage is cheap. Buy three drives (or a few high-capacity thumb-drives if an external drive is too frigging heavy) and spend a whopping hour every few months backing sh*t up and dropping the spare drives over at a relative's or wherever next time you nip over there to put a shelf up for them. It's not really any hardship at all compared to -say- owning a pet, children, or a few pot-plants. I really don't buy the whole "but it's too much effffoooorrrrt to look after my own shizzle". The data is there, yours, safe, and not entrusted to some company which will be either bankrupt or bought out by someone big and scary inside five years.

      1. itzman

        Re: Ah, the cloud

        Its not even that hard. My hard drives back each other up and sync all important data nightly using Rsync. That means that if I delete something by accident I have till 5 a.m to get last nights snapshot.

        No important data is held on desktop hard drives.

        In effect I run my own cloud. so all my data is accessible from whichever machine I happen to be using.

        Ok I cannot access it from anywhere in the world, but then the cost of actually leaving the house is getting to the point where its almost worth firing up a spreadsheet to see if its worth it.

        Years of acting as sysadmin to large volumes of corporate data do not inspire confidence in outsourced organisations, either in terms of privacy or resilience.

        The Cloud is for ninnies, along with Twits-R-Us, FaecesBook and all the I-Bling fondleslabs . For people who cant even handle a keyboard. No person who cares about their data or their privacy should use any of them.

  6. jonathanb Silver badge

    A fleet of white vans isn't the only way to lose your data

    Another way you could lose your data is if you have a fire or flood. CDs and LPs might survive a flood, but not a fire. Hard disks almost certainly won't survive either. If it isn't sensitive data, then using the cloud for offsite backup could be useful, but as you point out, there are many ways you could lose your cloud data, so don't rely on it too much, but it could help.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: A fleet of white vans isn't the only way to lose your data

      Don't forget to encrypt those cloud-hosted backups. The content trawling robots (if they exist) won't care if its backup or originals.

    2. itzman

      Re: A fleet of white vans isn't the only way to lose your data

      Golly. Who exactly has servers in their basement?

      in the unlikely event that I get flooded to a depth of 3 ,meters my data is STILL safe, because that's how far above ground level the disks are.

      You have to be really badly flooded to have even ground floor desktops covered.

      I can only assume that you are one of the modern generation who say things that they simply haven't thought about rationally at all, usually presaging their gushings with 'I think' - when its patently obvious to those of us who DO think, that you haven't really thought at all....

  7. frank ly

    Take care of your own data - and use redundancy

    I used to store my 'media' files on a 500GB NAS drive with a 500GB USB drive as backup copy. Now, I use a 1TB NAS drive with those 2x500GB drives rigged as a USB backup (USB hard drive adaptors are cheap and easy).

    This has lasted me for 3 years. Soon, I'll buy a 2GB drive for the NAS box and get another 1TB drive to give me 2x1TB for backup copy, an arrangement that should last for a few more years.

    What I really should do now is ask family/friends to keep the backup copies for me, in case of domestic accident or disaster. Storing large amounts of your own data is easy if you think about it and expand your capacity over time.

    For 'working' files, I use Dropbox and Sugarsync and GoogleDrive, all having identical copies of zipped up versions of my folders (if i remember to update them after file changes). It's all easy to do, you just need some planning and some regular maintenance effort.

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: Take care of your own data - and use redundancy

      I back up along the lines of most people here, in multiple versions, then swap with my sister: I hold a copy of all her data on some drives, she holds mine on a coupl eof hers. We sync when we feel we need to.

      We both might get hit with fire or flood, but life is loss. If a disaster that big hits us, I won't be worrying about my music collection or photos.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take care of your own data - and use redundancy

      I'm using crashplan and have my physical drives at work and at home too. I even back up my skydrive! How fuct up is that!

  8. ACx

    In general I still cant believe people believe in the con of the cloud. That whole thing is creepy and underhand. I could never ever rely on such a system. My personal data placed on some one else's system, only ever accessible from the web? No ta. Useful as throw away space for specifics, but not a lot else.

  9. JimC

    Backup chaps, backup.

    I've had a lightning strike fry half the electronics in my house. I've seen a data centre lose about 20% of disks including some mirrored pairs and much of the disk only backup library due to an explosive gas release. I've taken the majority of my LP collection out of the cupboard it was largely stored in, gingerly carried it over the water and fire damaged floorboards, leaving a few melted LPs that weren't in the cupboard behind. I've tried to be tactful to an office admin after the thieves took not only their server, but also the backup unit and *all* the tapes, because they couldn't be bothered to rotate a tape at someone's house as they'd been instructed to...

    Any media stored in only one location is potentially no media at all...

    1. Ray Gratis
      Pint

      Re: Backup chaps, backup.

      I was involved in large-scale DR exercises for years...

      You might want to add to that wise "Any media stored in only one location is potentially no media at all" this one:

      "Any backup that hasn't been recovery tested is potentially no backup at all".

      You would / wouldn't be surprised (depending on your personal experience) at how many backups don't recover successfully when they are needed.

      1. Wibble

        Re: Backup chaps, backup.

        Anyone can backup. Only heroes recover

      2. JimC
        Alert

        Re: Backup chaps, backup.

        I'd go further: a backup that isn't recovery tested is no more than a box-ticking exercise...

      3. Psyx
        Pint

        Re: Backup chaps, backup.

        "Any backup that hasn't been recovery tested is potentially no backup at all".

        Aha- funny story: I spent six months working on a newly installed system before we had an outage that required a restore... and NONE of the back-ups EVER taken after testing had worked properly.

        Valuable lesson learned, there!*

        *ie: When your boss says "I know you had the week booked off, but would you mind popping in to help with something?" the answer is of course:

        "Fsskclic...You're breaking up... am in Outer...fsss... Hebrides...can't..fzz...hear..you *click*".

    2. Rambler88

      Re: Backup chaps, backup.

      And a backup that relies on proprietary software for recovery--especially software from the likes of Microsoft or Apple--is not a backup either, not after the next round of planned obsolescence. Manual backup, chaps, manual backup.

  10. Emmett Jenner
    FAIL

    there was an ISP a few years ago where one of their junior technicians replaced a failed hard disk and then rebuilt the logical drive based on the contents of the replacement blank disk. This was the only copy of the customer data. I think it was Plusnet or someone like that. Can't remember now.

    This is the sort of situation their system wasn't designed to compensate for and so the failure was unforseen. A backup would have helped a bit but would not have recovered everything if they had had one.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud?

    Cloud? No Thanks. Just like other posters I'll never trust anyone else with my stuff. I run a small business from home and a few years back installed a Netgear NAS box - as helpfully reviewed by El Reg at the time... I later added the BVackup utility, again as reviewed by El Reg.

    I fitted the box with two mirrored 1TB drives, from different manufacturers, so they are not from the same batch or likely to fail at the same time. At the moment it sits under the desk in the office/spare bedroom but the plan is to move it into the garage. If the house burns down, floods, or gets broken into, hopefully the garage will survive, or vice versa. I also back the NAS up once a month or so to a USB drive which usually lives at my business partners house.

    The NAS box subsequently became the repository for music/videos/photos of a personal rather than business nature, and there is still lots of room for more, and further capacity can be added easily.

    Keeping your own data safe is your own resposnilbilty, and I'm sure it is not beyond the ability of any Reg reader to come up a pretty secure and redundant arrangement such as the above, whilst still keeping the prying eyes of Mr Google at bay. The issue may come in a few years time that when you don't store your world online the terrorist police will assume you have something to hide, a bit like they are now starting to say that if you don;' carry your mobile all the time for them to track you with, you must be doing something dodgy.......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cloud?

      > from different manufacturers, so they are not from the same batch or likely to fail at the same time.

      I've fallen victim to this. I had four of them fail, one after another, over a 2 month period all from the same batch.

      I was lucky since once the first disk failed I redistributed all the data so as to be able to handle a second failure. When the second one failed, I had just got a warranty replacement for the first, same with the third and fourth.

      I suspect that after the first disk failed the others started failing due to the extra load put on them through redistributing and recovering the data. I must admit though, that I put the 4th disk through its paces and managed to get it to fail with just 2 days left on the warranty.

      1. Ray Gratis
        Meh

        Same manufacturing batch...

        Wasn't there a whitepaper published by Google a few years ago about HD reliability? It also exposed the myth that HDs like to run cool, if I remember.

        1. Psyx
          Devil

          Re: Same manufacturing batch...

          "Wasn't there a whitepaper published by Google a few years ago about HD reliability? It also exposed the myth that HDs like to run cool, if I remember."

          Yeah, I think North Korea also released a whitepaper about the supremacy of Communism as a governmental system and Apple did one about how much better their phones are than everyone else's, too.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: "extra load put on them"

        If you have a RAID system you really, REALLY, should be doing a periodic "scrub" to verify all used sectors on all disks so when (not if!) you get a HDD failure there is a decent chance of the other HDD being clean enough to do a rebuild.

        ZFS has a scrub command, and Linux software RAID with recent-ish kernels supports a check command to do a scrub(see http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/RAID/Software#Data_Scrubbing), while some hardware cards (like my Areca 1210) also support such a periodic background check.

        Double parity is also a good idea, though matters more if you have several disks (say 5+), but is still not a substitute for a backup held elsewhere.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Stealthy CHAOS with Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems in a Virtual Power Grid*

      The issue may come in a few years time that when you don't store your world online the terrorist police will assume you have something to hide, a bit like they are now starting to say that if you don;' carry your mobile all the time for them to track you with, you must be doing something dodgy....... ... Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 24th December 2012 12:15 GMT

      The smarter entities will be doing something different*, AC.

      *NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT ........for Advanced NeuroLinguistic ReProgramMING of Earthed SMARTR Assets.

      You might like to ask ESTEC Noordwijk if that is one of their Deep Space Missions/Heavenly Slingshots? And if not, is it to be with Command and Control of AI IT?

      And yes, El Reg, that is for real in Great Virtual Game Play.......... Simulating Stimulating Creativity for New Beginnings and Second Comings. .......... :-) ... http://youtu.be/WP6gbxskEuw

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last someone talking sense rather than bullshit

    And a 3TB tape backup unit comes in very handy, provided you haven't downgraded Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 to a later version that doesn't provide NTBackup.

  13. stucs201

    Already had my close call with the cloud

    I used to let my photo sharing service (fotki) double as my offsite photo backup. Then one day they tried to change their terms and conditions so that unlimited storage of originals was no longer included and asked for more money or the originals would be removed leaving only the down-sized versions.

    I refused to give in to their blackmail and instead spent the money on a third 2tb hard disk and external enclosure, which is now locked in my desk at work. Its actually more convinient too, I can go and fetch the disk from work faster than I can shift that much data over my internet connection.

    1. Shoot Them Later
      Thumb Up

      Re: Already had my close call with the cloud

      Agree with a lot of the comments on here.

      I've recently taken to using another approach to the cloud for backing up my data. I have a Linux micro image running in the Amazon EC2 cloud with a substantial EBS volume attached (interestingly EBS is still cheaper than S3 for Amazon data storage). I rsync my music, photos and incremental dumps from my FreeBSD home server daily. A Synology NAS acts as my main backup/archive/filestore and most of the data on this is either archived to blu ray or replicated to EC2 via the above rsync process. This way I am in control about how my cloudy data is stored/used as I administer the server, and while I am dependent on Amazon continuing to provide the platform, this is a backup data store only.

      Finally, I keep copies of portions of this on my laptop and desktop. I use Unison File Synchroniser to keep these in sync. I can't recommend Unison enough for anyone who works on documents from multiple locations and doesn't want to rely on manual copying or services like dropbox. It means that I can easily switch from working on desktop to laptop to go on the road, and also ensure that I have a backup of other key files while I'm at it.

      1. Marco van Beek
        Thumb Up

        Re: Already had my close call with the cloud

        My only complaint about Unison is that it seems to need both ends to be running exactly the same version to run, and I have found that I really don't want my server running the same bleeding edge I am happy to run on my desktop. They could do with a bit of backwards compatibility, unless I am missing a trick somewhere.

        Anyway, I have best of both worlds. We run small Linux servers for our clients, on our client's sites, which we back up to own own servers in a co-location farm. Mind you, I don't back up the 1TB (and growing) list of stuff I haven't yet watched on my MythTV box!

    2. MacGyver
      Megaphone

      Re: Already had my close call with the cloud, too

      Youtube decided one day that my daughters dance recital videos where copyright violations and so they deleted them (not just removed public access). We're talking shaky hand-held phone recordings with maybe 30sec clips of music in the background of each all recorded in open air (also obscured by crowd noise), and now they're gone. Good thing I keep local copies. F$%k "Cloud" storage.

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    Megaupload

    or what ever it was called anyone?

    Your cloud company gets raided and closed down because of other users uploading naughty stuff.

    Leaving all your data safely locked away where you cant get to it.

    Then you have to prove its A. yours and B. not naughty

  15. Vimes

    What about the PATRIOT Act and national security letters? (that the EFF found out were being widely abused by the likes of the FBI by the way)

    There is no way in hell I would trust the cloud with my data, especially with this sort of crap going on:

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/07/doj-sues-telecom-over-nsl/

  16. John Tserkezis

    Access speed has only been mentioned once so far.

    I think it warrants being mentioned again.

    I've travelled interstate with a baby NAS, where it took a sold day and a half to dump everying onto it.

    I shudder to think how long it would take online with my current 14kb/s upload speed.

    Not to mention my ISP had in the past whined about my heavy uploads going over their "fair use" limits.

    Ok, that was a lot of data (~3Tb) on the NAS, but would not even consider it for my mere music collection that sits at a relatively measly (from what I've been told) 45G. And that's not counting audiobooks, podcasts, and other audio I work on.

    A USB flash drive would do the job, arguably cheaper long term, and most certainly faster.

    Heck, the flash storage on my phone does that now, screw the cloud, I have true 24/7 access to my music and audiobooks, and it's cheaper.

    I really can't see any advantage for me to use the cloud.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: Access speed has only been mentioned once so far.

      "I shudder to think how long it would take online with my current 14kb/s upload speed."

      Haha, Someone asked me if I could help them upload their music and photo collection to a cloudy service recently. We decided not to bother when it transpired it would take over a week of non-stop data transfer to upload it all.

      I was also bitten by the megaupload fiasco and locked out of over 100 files i had uploaded (mostly utilities and tools for quick access incase i had to fix something pc related for someone and didnt have my utility filled usb sticks with me). Luckily i also had local copies, but if i had uploaded important stuff, i would be both screwed and very, very annoyed indeed (i am fucking annoyed actually, it was a fantastic service and i still had 3 months left to run on my sub, so cheers for that America, I take it my refund is in the post eh?).

      What with all the snooping, data caps, glacial broadband speed and patchy 3g coverage, i really cant see a valid use for these services in the current climate tbh. There just not reliable,fast or secure enough for anything other than (very)short term emergency use.

      I really worry about the amount of people who use these things to store pictures from their phone etc without making local backups, its a disaster waiting to happen.

      1. Joe 35
        Stop

        Re: Access speed has only been mentioned once so far.

        Haha, Someone asked me if I could help them upload their music and photo collection to a cloudy service recently. We decided not to bother when it transpired it would take over a week of non-stop data transfer to upload it all.

        =========

        Whats the issue? Its not necessary to wait and watch whilst it uploads!

        And once its up there, incremental updates will take minutes to hours, but again that requires no watching

        I think my photo/music took 2 weeks to upload. I guess it would take a few days to get it all back from the cloud, should I need to (its also stored on a connected hourly backup disk, plus a "disconnected" local USB drive (connected and backed up to every few weeks, but disconnected when not in use in case of malware or idiot user error) but that would be acceptable for what would be some kind of significant disaster like fire or flood.

  17. Jason Hindle

    It's perfectly safe to put your music in the cloud

    So long as:

    - It has also been put into at least one other cloud (preferably in a different legal jurisdiction)

    - You maintain the physical media

    - You maintain your own off site backup (in my case, my photos are backed up in a cupboard at my place if work).

    Just because you're being paranoid should in no way imply the bastards are not out to get you 8-).

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: It's perfectly safe to put your music in the cloud

      Too damn right, plus I don't want the world knowing I have a Barron Knights LP.

      My main issues with 'the cloud' are

      - economics - multiple external drives are cheaper (over time) and faster.

      - speed to backup and restore. Fine if you have a few GB and a fast connection, terrible if you have 10-15TB and 50/5 mbps is the fastest connection you can get.

      I use smugmug but largely due to it being easy and well thought out. Otherwise its external drives and a storage unit for a redunant location. 3 x 3TB usb 3.0 drives at $120-150 a pop and they're good for around 5 years and do over 100MBps.

      The cloud works great for some folks but theres that middle management syndrome that creeps in and people try to use it for everything.

    2. Vimes

      Re: It's perfectly safe to put your music in the cloud

      'different legal jurisdiction'? That's a bit difficult - especially when the US authorities seem to think that if a company has any connections to businesses on US soil then that makes them subject to US law, even if the data in question has gone nowhere near US shores.

      http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/413379/australian-based_data_subject_patriot_act_lawyer/

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: It's perfectly safe to put your music in the cloud

        There are echos of Maggie and the Belgrano (the spitting image sketch summed it up nicely) when it comes to viewing their area of influence. Parking 12 aircraft carriers off the coast helps as well.

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Perfect Grooming Tool and SMARTR Enabling Utility.

    Clouds offer quite perfect enough back-up locations for extremely sensitive information that one would wish the world and his dog to see/hear/feel. And if/whenever such info disappears at any stage unexpectedly, is one then reliably informed of specific particular and peculiar/irregular and unconventional information which has rattled the system to its core and may even be easily capable of crashing critical and strategic global systems, which would then struggle to ensure subsequent storage facilities and additional further information which may be advanced classified intelligence to others, stays secret to remain an unknown known/known unknown, and invariably in primitive type man societies is that simply because it has delivered in the past, obscene inequitable advantage for a select and selfish few.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: A Perfect Grooming Tool and SMARTR Enabling Utility.

      It is just such a situation/methodology which has made Wikileaks so powerful and disruptive/revolutionary and refreshing, ne c'est pas?

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        @amfM 13:42 (was: Re: A Perfect Grooming Tool and SMARTR Enabling Utility.)

        Replying to yourself, grandson of ELIZA & son of PARRY?

        Methinks tweaks are an option. Have a good solstice season, regardless! :-)

    2. pepper

      Re: A Perfect Grooming Tool and SMARTR Enabling Utility.

      I think we have the answer, Amanfrommars1 is a manager!!

  19. frobnicate

    > What does it mean to “own” something when it’s stored on someone else’s cloud server and

    > can be wiped, possibly erroneously, with the flip of a switch? This is not ownership in any

    > traditional sense of the word.

    You mean, like money in a bank?

    1. MacGyver
      Trollface

      Money is not personal or unique, and in the U.S. it's federally insured in a bank up to $100,000. The cloud, not so much. And last time I checked, the bank pays me to hold my money, not the other way around.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one day having local storage will mark you target for investigation

    because "If you have nothing to hide at home you have nothing to worry about”, and if you don't trust the cloud...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: one day having local storage will mark you target for investigation

      Well if that is the case, anyone who owns a computer with hard disc, usb key or dvd will be investigated. Aside from all the security and privacy issues, when using the cloud you don't actually know where your data is stored. It could be stored in a competely different country which incidentally may well have different laws so you could end up comitting an offence because what is legal in one country may not be in another.

      Having your own local storage is the most sensible option as you control it and no I wouldn't trust the cloud either..

  21. Dr. Ellen

    Want/need

    There's data I *want* to keep, and there's data I *need* to keep. The former is on a RAID5 array. The latter has copies on three independent hard drives, plus a thumbdrive which I keep in my purse. None of it is on the cloud. If such a catastrophe strikes that I can't even take my purse with me as I escape, I have bigger problems than data loss.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    This is what I've been saying to people around me for ages - they are not listening. More fool them, although I do have concerns that some of their data makes references to me so puts me in the data scrapers' sights.

    My data is sync'd across two different local machines, and a copy kept on a removable hard drive that resides 30 miles away.

  24. Christian Berger Silver badge

    That's why I have a rootserver

    Or to be more precisely currently just a v-server.

    This is my server just like I have my own flat. My land lord is not supposed to get in there without my consent. Furthermore I'm considering to look into ways of having hardisk encryption on such a server.

    Again, the difference between "cloud services" and this is that this belongs to me.

    And of course I backup that server regularly. That's just common sense.

  25. Dropper
    FAIL

    I Call Bullshit

    I don't know where to start on this.. this whole article is so wrong in so many ways it actually boggles the mind that I found it on *this* site.

    Your Macbook HD with its 2-3 warranty is more reliable than multiple server farms spread across continents? Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me. That's the kind of blind faith fanboism that gives Mac users the reputation they deserve. 2-3 years for a reason. Mechanical parts, electronic components and magnetic media, not a combination to inspire confidence and is why HD manufacturers are only willing to put their money behind their products for a limited time. It is also the reason even the cheapest of network appliances will monitor the health of hard disks, automatically moves data, duplicates it and tells the operations department when it's time to replace one of its hard disks.

    Techies will steal your music? You understand what you're talking about is not the same thing as a Best Buy employee ripping off your iTunes content right? That unlike the time you took your computer into a store to get it fixed, access to data stored on a disk array in a server farm is audited. That explaining you lost your job because you were definitely caught stealing client data is not a great way to open a job interview and you were too stupid to understand that this would absolutely, 100% happen.

    As for outtages.. sure 6-8 hours happen and it can be more than a minor inconvience. And I guess you chose your residence wisely, because a year with no super storms causing power outtages for weeks on end or even a minor outtage that only lasts half a day is great. But are you 100% certain you can rely on your local substation next year or the year after that? Funnily enough Amazon and Google aren't willing to make that bet. They have more than one place to store data, because they're filthy fucking rich.

    Which brings me to the last point. Delete your data? What fantasy land do you come from? Storing YOUR data on a cloud server is not the same thing as renting a movie for life from Apple or Amazon. Cloud server administrators cannot and absolutely will not deliberately delete your files. They most certainly could accidentally delete them.. and then just as quickly restore them again because, like I just mentioned, they have more than one server. Spread out across fucking continents. One hurricane is not going to put them offline, one explosion will not wipe out a company's accounting files and one fire will not prevent them from maintaining a 99.9% uptime.

    The only possible conceit I will give you is that hackers do indeed find attacking Google and Amazon more interesting than putting trojans on your hard disk. But they don't do this to steal music or photos. If a hacker wants music for free he has far easier methods of obtaining it. He certainly might laugh at a few ill considered photos, but even if he felt the need to delete them all, Google et all can and will restore them for you.

    No hackers want one of two things. Recognition for being able to break into a large network and/or money. So be circumspect with what you store and where you store it. Encrypt your private data (whether it's stored at home or in space) and you'll be a lot better off.

    /rant off

    1. The BigYin

      Re: I Call Bullshit

      I think you miss the point. A lot. See that spec on the horizon? That's the sign post telling you where the point is.

      "Your Macbook HD with its 2-3 warranty is more reliable than multiple server farms spread across continents?"

      Of course not. Not HDD is. That's why we have RAID and multiple back-ups (with at least one off-site).

      "Techies will steal your music?

      No. But they may mine the information and report yo to the authorities. Heck, the authorties could even compel them to do so. Also, your data comes under the jurisdiction of the hosting country which could land you in some very hot water if you are unlucky.

      "Cloud server administrators cannot and absolutely will not deliberately delete your files."

      Unless compelled to by law or other threats (see above). Imagine the MPAA issuing takedowns for movies/music you have uploaded for personal use. Heck, just doing that could be a criminal offence.

      "So be circumspect with what you store and where you store it."

      Oh, you did get the point after all.

      Me - I will store my data locally, keep back-ups and use the cloud only for information I need to share with other and, for whatever reason, don't wish to host it locally. When in the cloud, most of that data will be encrypted/locked by me to ensure that only the people I want have accees

    2. mickey mouse the fith
      FAIL

      Re: I Call Bullshit

      "Which brings me to the last point. Delete your data? What fantasy land do you come from? "

      One word....Megaupload.

      At any time, U.S govt plc could snatch your data away, deny you access to it and probably sift through it lest there are terrorists hiding within.

      1. Clasm

        Re: I Call Bullshit

        Not just the US...what country is your cloud data in? Is it going to stay there? And what laws will that country pass in the future concerning that data? And will you ever know until it's too late?

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: I Call Bullshit

      "I don't know where to start on this.." - I do. What he said (points at article author).

      "Your Macbook HD with its 2-3 warranty is more reliable than multiple server farms spread across continents? Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me." - it doesn't matter dick if the server farms have quintuple redundancy and zero-fail processor platforms and [insert buzzwords here]... if the service is down, it is down, and there's nothing you can do to get at your data.

      Both of the big players have had downtime this year. The author's Mac hasn't. And, for what it is worth, my little ol' three year old eeePC 901 hasn't let me down either. I have a stack of Japanese horror films pulled from YouTube to watch over Christmas, and I intend to.

      But... wait... this isn't the sole issue here. If my eeePC died, or the guy's Mac died; chances are we'll have backups, copies of core important stuff on SD cards, Bluray, and tape, or whatever. The downtime than will be in getting a new system set up. In my case, I walk into the room beside me and purloin the computer I got my mother as a short-term measure. On the other hand, if you entrusted your precious data to the cloud, then what's your rescue plan? You own offline backups? Do you have any? If so, why are you even bothering with the cloud?

      "Techies will steal your music? You understand what you're talking about is not the same thing as a Best Buy employee ripping off your iTunes content right?" - I'm not sure if a techie would be interested in the greatest hits of Abba, but I bet if something rare turned up, copies would be floating around before too long. The temptation is there, the traceability is weak, it's only a matter of time...

      Having said that, I think the point of the article was in turning your collections and preferences into money. You know, like Facebook is "monetizing" (I hate that word!) all the blather going on between people. Or how Instagram tried (and failed) to sneak a change into their Ts&Cs allowing them to make money off of user uploads. What's to say a cloud service wouldn't - when it feels it needs cash - try their own modifications of contract. Your choice? Take your gigabytes elsewhere, if you can find somewhere suitable.

      "That explaining you lost your job because you were definitely caught stealing client data is not a great way to open a job interview" - assuming of course the issue isn't buried. The admin who does will probably lose his job but it will happen amically, for what service wants to be slagged off in the media for allowing this sort of thing to happen?

      "And I guess you chose your residence wisely, because a year with no super storms causing power outtages for weeks on end" - what, are you in a third-world country or something? Even following hurricanes, the power has been back up within a few days... in those unfortunate times when it goes down at all (we rode out last Christmas' hurricane that felled the pine in front of the house without anything more than a few brownouts).

      "But are you 100% certain you can rely on your local substation next year or the year after that?" - don't see why not. But nobody can be 100% sure of anything. Apparently you stand a better chance of being hit by a meteorite than winning the EuroMillions. Funny, people regularly win the lottery, but you'd think all these people getting struck down by space junk might, you know, make the news. Knowing my luck, tomorrows draw will be won by somebody else (not me) and instead the gloopy Birds' Custard between my ears will be splatted by a rock from a galaxy far far away.

      The local substation, however, will continue unaffected.

      "Delete your data? What fantasy land do you come from? [...snip...] Cloud server administrators cannot and absolutely will not deliberately delete your files." - yeah, actually, they could deliberately/accidentally delete it. Accounting says "get rid of user ID 128489348" only one of those eights was a 3. Bang, your stuff has gone. It could be restored from a backup, but that takes time and effort and you'd first need to argue with the droids that your stuff got wiped while they all look for plausible deniability. Didn't somebody's Flickr account get nuked and it wasn't until a public media roasting that they actually dug out the backups? [yes: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/04/flickr_lesson_for_cloud_customers/ ] Well, makes one wonder what would have happened if this hasn't gone public/viral. Would they have just said "oh well, (y)our bad"?

      "and then just as quickly restore them again because, like I just mentioned, they have more than one server. Spread out across fucking continents." - bollocks, bollocks, and even huger hairier testicles... Do you really think all these servers across fucking continents are all storing multiple copies of your data? Oh, yeah, if you pay tens of thousands a month for the service then I'm sure that is true. To use a lower end (or free) service to store a collection of LPs, the most you can hope for is a RAID array at your specific server and backups that you pray are kept off-site. There are no multiple copies on servers on other fucking continents because those servers are full of other people's shit.

      "No hackers want one of two things." ... somehow you've grabbed entirely the wrong end of the stick. We're talking about security and reliability. I know that the Chihiro Onisuka collection on my computer and phone is mine. To get to it, to alter or delete it, will be either my cluelessness (but I have multiple copies), hardware failure (ditto), or physical intrusion/theft (and, to be honest, I doubt a Japanese singer is going to appeal to the typical thief).

      As soon as my data goes into "the cloud", I can no longer say for certain that I know exactly where it is or what copies may exist. If there is a file that is dubious in amongst the collection, be it a ripped movie or a copy of something like the terrorists handbook, I cannot even say for certain what legal jurisdiction this would fall under. If I have some "how to make a bomb" file because in bad taste I thought it was amusingly bad and I upload it to a server and that server is located in the US, could this be enough to get me extradited as a suspect terrorist? Can you guarantee to me that such a thing would be impossible? At least when files are kept local to me, I only need to concern myself with the laws of my own country, not the caprices of... you say there are data centres around the world. Do you know where? Do you know how their jurisdictions operate?

      Another thing to consider. I don't know if it is true or not (never looked) but apparently Amazon MP3 downloads are tagged with an ID embedded into the audio itself. This ID refers back to your user account. This is their nod to letting out unprotected music. A sort of "be responsible". I'm okay with that. Now let's say you upload some songs to MegaMegaCloud and there is a leak (bad admin, security flaw, hack, the reasons don't matter). Your MP3 turns up on SmokinHotMP3Rips.com and, hey, guess what, this ID points to YOU. It is YOU people will come to. After all, YOU are the one who took the music given to you for your private use and uploaded it god-only-knows-where. You can point your finger at whoever you want, but the scary child-laptop-stealing goons will be pointing their fingers at YOU.

      I see, I really see the attraction of digital music. Both of my phones and my computer are loaded up with the things I like. I can listen to them all, or by theme (via playlist), I can listen in sequential order or "random". And if I'm besotted with a song (<cough>Yuki Kajiura</cough>), I can listen to it lots of times over and over without wearing out tape or stylus or running batteries flat in an hour like with portable CD players. I can pause, rewind, set loop points, all the sort of fluff you'd expect in a modern audio player. Heck, I can even apparently stick album images into MP3s though I've not quite figured out how.

      What I don't see is the overriding attraction of The Cloud. All it seems to me is to be way out if you're too cheap or lacking in competence to set up and manage your own private data system. Hell, mine is a reject 1GHz box running XP. It acts as a NAS with Windows shares and VNC server. Drop the files onto the harddisc, and burn off a DVD or two. Copies on line if I need 'em, plus backups. Depending on your data needs, it can be so simple as to be funny. For the author's LPs, it'll require something a little more complicated. But, you know, you start small, you scale, and you keep control. Both of the data, and how it is accessed. You cannot 100% guarantee (home incursion, fire, flood, EMP weapon) but then you could say the same for the data centre...

  26. MJI Silver badge

    How about

    All my personal pictures on the work PC and the code base at work on my home PC

  27. Kev99

    FINALLY! A pundit who writes what I've been saying for years. The cloud is a fool's paradise and not at all safe for any kind of proprietary or secure storage. Just read the papers and see how many "secure" sites get hacked, cracked and whacked every day.

  28. Tank boy
    Trollface

    Just say no to THE CLOUD.

    The cloudy people are trying to sell the collective us on a bill of goods. Other articles have broken down the costs, and it just doesn't add up. Couple that with the vagaries of the internet, privacy/proprietary concerns, and sketchy service (umm yeah, information, what's the number to the Cloud?).

    Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I'd rather pay to keep my own data in-house, than trust it to something that is new and not proven. The upside is that I get to keep the hardware, rather than renting someone else's. If I'm a dinosaur, so be it, but I'll still have my stuff. No stranger poring over it, no down time, no worry about having my stuff when I need it.

    Have a good Christmas.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love these threads

    They make me click on the grsync icon --- and remember to swap out my backup disk with the one kept at a friend's place and bring that one up to date.

    Cheers!

  30. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Boffin

    It's not that simple.

    Yes, raw cloud data is vulnerable to snooping, and downtime too! However, there is nothing to stop you from storing encrypted files on the cloud.

    No, your single desktop drive is not safe; I have lost everything due to a head crashed drive, in the past, and most file systems do not actively look for creeping sector corruption!

    No, mirroring is OK, but not a good idea for data you must never lose, especially with typical RAID controllers or software RAID, because file correction may not be detected; however it is better than nothing, especially if software driver or hardware RAID1. Backup is _not_ mirroring!

    If you want reliability and data security, I suggested you built a Midi PC low power FreeNAS box and use at least a raidz2 mode ZFS volume (4 or 6+ even number of disks), then set-up the AFP service for your Apple devices. Partitioning is obsolete for ZFS, Datasets are way more flexible.

    ZFS is designed to be really good at spotting dodgy hard drives, cables, disk controllers etc. early, so any developing issues can be resolved well before any data loss occurs e.g. my new FreeNAS box quickly found a dodgy WD Red 3TB drive, and automatically detected and mapped around iffy sectors on another.

    FreeNAS also supports client & server rsync (including SSH), and scheduled replication so you can add another FreeNAS at another location, or have different boxes on different UPS's or anti-surge power strips.

    1. Tank boy
      Holmes

      Re: It's not that simple.

      Of course a single desktop isn't the safest way to store information. Things get damaged, things get broken. Anyone actually doing work on a computer knows that. Thumb drives are cheap, as are CD/DVDs, and if someone really wants to make sure their "stuff" isn't lost, there are external hard drives. But there are no guaranties that nothing will crap out, but at a certain point there are diminishing returns on investment.

      From my experience, keeping things simple is better. Or as a former boss said: Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).

  31. David 45

    Noooooo!

    Seems I'm not the only one who mistrusts our friend Mr. Cloud. A lot of things can (and WILL) go wrong. I prefer to do my own back-ups on my umpteen external hard drives spread over two desk-top machines and a laptop. Something that hasn't been mentioned is the sheer volume of data that needs to be sent over an internet connection to transfer files to the cloud, not to mention the time needed to do it, bearing in mind that upload speed is usually considerably lower than download speed. My music collection alone currently sits at approx 165 gigs. To send that little lot up the pipe would also drive a horse and carriage through my ISP's data limit, so I shall not be indulging any time soon.

  32. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Cloud storage is inherently risky....

    Because you never know what the chain of ownership is going to look like. You put your photos on this nifty startup service called Instagram, and then Facebook buys them out and now your photos may or may not be used for marketing purposes. You back up your music to cloud storage, and then the cloud storage vendor changes their Ts & Cs and can search through your music to glean marketing insights about you. You back up data to the cloud, and your cloud provider then outsources some of their data center to a third party, and now you have to worry about that third party and what they might do.

    You need to weigh the costs and benefits before you back stuff up to the cloud, and I would treat cloud like I would treat posting pics to Facebook. Namely, never save anything to the cloud if it would embarrass you if someone produced it in a job interview or a family get-together.

  33. Jon Green
    IT Angle

    Common sense

    ...and good practice say that you don't have a single point of failure. So don't store all your data solely with one cloud provider - nor solely in one building - nor solely on one laptop/USB stick/dog-eared floppy.

    Beware of the single cloud provider issue, too. If you store all your data in Amazon S3, don't also rely on Dropbox - they use S3 as their backing store, and if you're really unlucky a system problem damaging one copy will affect the other, too - although S3 storage is by default extremely durable.

    By all means use the cloud - I do, a lot - but be mindful. Duplicate your data stored in Amazon Web Services/Dropbox at Microsoft Azure or Google Drive. As another poster comments, if you're on a sub-8Mb ASDL connection, it'll take ages (and a big data allowance) to back up loads of data to the cloud or retrieve from it, so treat it as the backup, not the main storage, and keep an OFF-SITE backup on a USB stick or portable hard drive.

    All of this carries expense, and you'll have to make your own decisions as to the cost:benefit balance. How much of your data or media do you consider irreplaceable? Pay for belt-and-braces for the important stuff, and don't sweat the unimportant stuff.

  34. OrsonX
    Megaphone

    10Gb, 5 days, ~2k songs

    The only time I have to listen to music is on the commute. I am constantly deleting songs I don't like so I can have more of a chance of hearing my favourite ones, and yet it would still take me 5 days to listen to all my music.

    You don't need the cloud when you only have 10Gb of music!

    But my point is, why do people have so much music when listening to even a fraction of it is impractical?

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: 10Gb, 5 days, ~2k songs

      But my point is, why do people have so much music when listening to even a fraction of it is impractical?

      Good point.

      I run a box that (among other things) plays my entire music collection randomly around the clock.

      The output of the sound card goes to one of those MP3 player FM transmitter thingys, originally designed to interface to a car audio system that doesn't already have an external interface.

      I've modifed (extended) the antenna, to increase the range from the original few feet, to around the house.

      I receive said stream on a couple of FM radios in the house.

      Now, do I NEED all that music, especially when I can't be listening to it all the time? Well, no.

      On my estimates, I'm not likely to hear the same track twice in a couple of months. Or more.

      Then why do I do it? I get by far less repeats than a commercial radio station, I get what *I* want to listen to, and I don't get any ads, promotions, interviews, interruptions etc. And considering the potential minimalistic hardware requirements to do it all, it's bloody cheap. And best of all, power requirements aside (say with an iPod or simlar), there are no on-going costs. Cloudy or otherwise.

      Any wonder why I haven't listened to commercial radio in 15+ years?

      1. OrsonX
        Happy

        @John T

        Interesting reply, sounds like a nice set-up.

        I should probably expand my musical horizons as I do tend to hear the same songs a lot!

  35. MR J

    Nail on the Head..

    I think this story got my view straight across ;)..

    What I want is something that cost 30% that of traditional storage, allows me to "mount" it like a drive on my network, and have it include high level encryption out of the gate.

    Why 30%?.. Because I want at least 3 seperate cloud units running at one time, with sync software running that will make them appear all as one logical unit.

    Until We get to that point I am more than happy to keep my lib's stored on multiple PC/Drives.

  36. sgtrock
    Go

    Nobody has mentioned SpiderOak yet?

    Just because so many cloud companies are getting data backups wrong doesn't mean you have to assume that everyone is. I don't trust the cloud with my data. But I don't trust my own local backups either. Any sysadmin who has even a half a clue knows that you need more than one backup technique built on different architectures, each of which is geographically separate by at least 10 miles. NEVER assume that one backup solution is sufficient. ALWAYS assume that there will be a failure in any design. This is Basic Backup 101!

    A guy at work recommended SpiderOak a while back. After reading this page I was willing to drop $100/year to back up 100 GB:

    https://spideroak.com/engineering_matters

    My only affiliation with SpiderOak is as a satisfied customer. I've been using SpiderOak to provide a remote back up my wife's critical business files and my own personal files for about a year and a half. It's reasonably priced and has been remarkably stable. Only one glitch that lasted about 2 days, and that may have been due to a PEBKAC error on my part. All in all, I think they provide a very solid backup solution.

    Given what I've said above, does that mean that I no longer keep a local copy of everything? Nope, of course not. In fact, I've got a couple of local backups driven by simple rsync jobs. But I'm damn glad I've got a solid offsite backup solution at a reasonable cost, too. In my view that's what a cloud solution really buys you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody has mentioned SpiderOak yet?

      https://spideroak.com/contact

      SpiderOak, Inc.

      555 Huehl Road

      Northbrook, IL 60062

      The fact that they are located in the US, the country of the PATRIOT Act and more dirt and shame to hide than any other country of this world, is reason alone to avoid them.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business continuity

    Another problem with 3rd party cloud data storage is that even if you found the perfect solution for your needs, which manages to tick all your checkmarks and you're 100% happy with their Terms & Conditions and other promises that your data is yours and they will never never ever ever monetize them....

    You can't be sure that 18months from now they won't be acquired by Google/Facebook/Twitter/whatever promising that never ever will they change anything to the services they offer, and 6 months later, through a cunning update of their T&Cs, start doing the very thing you believed would never happen!!

    Worse, even if you decided to cancel the service at the time of acquisition or at the time of the T&Cs update, you have no guarantee whatsoever, and no means of checking, that your data was effectively removed from their storage.

  38. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    More than one way to lose your stuff

    "...both Apple and Google have experienced multiple cloud outages..."

    No need to wait for that. Your ISP may screw up, or your cable modem may go bust and a technician's visit to replace it will be scheduled a few days from now, or any one of a trillion different things may happen between you and the treasure stored in a different county or a different country.

    Having no Internet access (make it "convenient internet access" - you probably have email at work and on the phone/tablet these days) is a minor irritation, while having no access to *any* of your stuff may be a big problem.

  39. Ian Moyse
    Holmes

    To Cloud or not to Cloud, that is the question

    Having read the comments here it appears the author has an axe to grind with cloud. Having been in the cloud arena for the past 8 years and sitting on the board of many cloud associations and organisations I have a more pragmatic view that users should choose the most applicable form factor (be it cloud, cloud/on network mixed or on network) for each applications use dependent on the need, cost and feeling about data held in each case.

    Limiting yourself and avoiding cloud will put you at a disadvantage in terms of flexibility and adaptability and in business potentially lose your competitive edge. The customers are choosing with their feet and purses as many major historic bricks and mortar brand approaches have already found out to their peril. Take Blockbuster video, once the darling and now the gone or surviving against Netflix and lovefilm serving up online movies. Take Tower Records gone against the online music world, books stores, Kodak photography and many more join this throw.

    Cloud with the demands of mobile access from any device delivers more flexibility than we have ever had and be it public or private cloud is here to stay. We will see an increase in the speed of innovation and new uses for hosted services and an increased demand as younger users expect and demand availability anywhere, anytime on any device at a low price point that traditional mediums cannot deliver.

    If you are afraid of losing music in the cloud, buy it on standard media, ripit, upload it and gain the benefits of cloud with a localised traditional media copy for your peace of mind and safety. However bear in mind this will cost you more in money and time to achieve. Yes Cloud may have had outage examples in the past year, but one local device outage or loss later and a user will be switching to cloud and relying on it for backups quickly. There are bad stories in any medium, and the story of one user’s lost kindle files is rare and amongst the volume of users offers a low chance it will be you. You can argue this the same for any failure, I am sure there are those out there who have had their local device just crash and burn and not switch on as expected at a random moment leaving them high and dry.

    Ian Moyse

    www.ianmoyse.co.uk

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: To Cloud or not to Cloud, that is the question

      ""Limiting yourself and avoiding cloud will put you at a disadvantage in terms of flexibility and adaptability and in business potentially lose your competitive edge." - possible, but is moving your data handling to the "cloud" a contributor to competitive edge?

      "The customers are choosing with their feet and purses as many major historic bricks and mortar brand approaches have already found out to their peril. Take Blockbuster video, once the darling and now the gone or surviving against Netflix and lovefilm serving up online movies. Take Tower Records gone against the online music world, books stores, Kodak photography and many more join this throw." - [citation needed], specifically one that puts these failures down to not being in the cloud rather than just a general failure to modernise (ie Kodak - sticking with chemical film in the face of digital offerings and then thinking "uh-oh"), or mismanagement. Unrelated points don't make another point, y'know!

  40. Florida1920
    Holmes

    Distrusted clouds before there was one

    Back in 2001, being of limited resources, I used several free webhosting services to stash sundry files, as my laptop had a 2-GB drive and no CD burner. One of them must have had their operation in the World Trade Center, as the service disappeared without a trace one day in September. Other people had bigger problems and there was nothing mission critical there, but when the biz got going I was a believer in redundant backup methods I alone controlled. When the Cloud drifted over the horizon I wasn't even tempted.

    Actually, my experience with stuff like this goes back further, to when I worked at a major monthly rag. The Powers decided to put MS Word on the server so we editors could run it over the LAN. I didn't trust that so I downloaded a copy onto my HD and renamed it . Came the day when we were nearing deadline and the server or the LAN or something blew up, and there was much screaming, tearing of hair etc in the halls, while I was able to keep working. The message, which all of you pro IT folks know is, you have to expect and plan for failure. If the Powers say, "What are the odds?," reach for the cattle prod and nudge them toward the elevator shaft.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Distrusted clouds before there was one

      I had gear at Sun in (and on top of) the WTC. The functionality was available under half an hour later, with hardware I had access to in Nyack NY, albeit with a trifle less bandwidth.

      Yes, it was a planned fall-back option. No, I didn't foresee the extent of the equipment failure.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    risk analysis

    A very one-sided rant. Which I guess it was written to be.

    Compare the risks listed with those of trying to maintain data yourself, as most commentards here seem to be doing. Such as

    - your RAID controller has a bug that blitzes all your data when a disk dies

    - your OS or iTunes or whatever devices to overwrite all your files with zeros

    - your house gets burgled and the thieves take all your electronics

    - combine any of the above with a silent failure of your off site backup regime for the past 6 months.

    Never mind that most people wouldn't know a backup regime if it came and burnt their house down.

    The cloud has its place as part of a sensible data storage strategy. All computing relies on trusting someone else to a greater or lesser extent, unless you are building your own CPUs. And if you don't like the privacy aspects then encrypt your data before uploading using something that doesn't store the key centrally (ie not dropbox).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: risk analysis

      You shouldn't really be talking poorly of those you are trying to sell a product to. Now take that cloud make it rain. I don't need or want your cloud. Give me blue skies!

  42. igottheflag

    Help

    Clouds eh? What happened to just printing everything out and putting it in a folder? Trees and dot matrix printers were invented for a reason people.

  43. tempemeaty
    Thumb Up

    Dave, you roxin my boxin!

    I'm glad that I'm not the only one who groks this. I've seen it from the consumer end and from the inside. How many times do I have to cringe, as someone on the inside of a technology company, when a customers account get hosed by some internal error or issue from some botched entry on an account profile that wrecks the service in question. Then we find out when the customer calls in and can't repair the issue due to internal tools issues/limitations and the account has to be closed and a new one written up. God forbid there's a cloud storage or email attached to the account. The reality is that many of these accounts can lose all data at the push of a button on an account interface but the same tools can't retrieve what's lost. You go to Tier 2 or 3 only to find they don't even have server access and the company has so compartmentalized I.T. from the customer service techs that neither has contact with the other and lost data is just lost. Bottom line, no one can take care of your data better than you can. Thanks Dave for the common sense and reality check here.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Claud Schmaud

    Whatever. I have several clouds that just up and evaporated. Jokes aside, if you like the convenience of the cloud, run your own. Cloud storage is AKA NAS. It ain't that tricky. Nowadays they even have them fangdangled distros on a CDROM.

  45. adnim Silver badge
    Joke

    If

    one is good at remembering a long sequence of just two things, any lost data could be reconstructed using a simple two key input device.

  46. Nanners
    Devil

    Dude, it's too late

    They already have you by the balls. You just don't realize it yet. And yes, they are buying and selling you to the highest bidder, that's the whole point.

  47. bri
    Alert

    If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better than cloud

    The trick is "to know what you are doing". Majority of people don't. That's a fact. Some people do have staged backup policy with multiple geographic locations and/or use P2P backup but some other people who never lost their data will call this anal retentive and hence they will, inevitably, lose more data as a result (everyone does, the trick is to limit the loss, in other words to define the RPO).

    The problem with cloud (as in Dropbox, Google and friends) is that it is far more susceptible to influences you cannot control and which you know nothing about (especially if you reside in a different country than your cloud provider). So the actual GUARANTEED availibility of cloud backup is for foreign natural person far, far lower than almost anything else (do you know what actual steps would you perform should a foreign company stop abruptly the service to you and as a result you'd lose access to your data? Remember, consumer organizations work usually within single country).

    Cloud service is better than nothing, usually, but that's not what we can term as "good", right?

    One aspect of this is privacy. Almost everyone has some kind of "unlicensed" material, should we say (grabbed CD or BD is such a case, even if you do that as a hedge against burglary). That's DMCA territory. The fact that no one does care what you have stored there NOW is no guarantee - cloud providers are actually centralized points for data storage (and those cloud providers will search the data for clues on what's popular). Before, investigators had tens/hundreds of millions of households to search (impossible). In the future they will have only a handful of datacenters to search (and their access actually depends on lawmakers and lawyers understanding technicalities - good for you if you really, really trust them).

    In order to be reasonably safe and future-proof, you have to encrypt your data on the client and THEN send it to the cloud or use P2P backup with people whom you trust. But it means you have to employ some kind of key management and data preprocessing or slightly more complicated backup configuration you have to consult with others. This isn't a panacea either. Not mentioning the fact that fetching your HDDs for rotation from granny has often far higher bandwidth than uploading/downloading your data to cloud. And given the usual TB sizes, such a poor person geo backup is often cheaper and, if done sensibly, with RPO you are actually comfortable with.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better in heavenly clouds' stealthy layers*

      In the future they will have only a handful of datacenters to search (and their access actually depends on lawmakers and lawyers understanding technicalities - good for you if you really, really trust them). … bri Posted Tuesday 25th December 2012 18:53 GMT

      Morning, bri,

      Actually it is so much easier than that whenever there are no laws, or laws which regularly broken and/or ignored by lawyers and lawmakers and clients desperate for access to technicalities and intellectual property which they don't understand or possess or have licence to/permission to use under proprietary terms and conditions.

      And it happens all the time whenever systems are in collapse because of intelligence failings ……. http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/congress-at-last-minute-drops-requirement-to-obtain-warrant-to-monitor-email-121225?news=846578

      * Mega Anonymous Occupied IntelAIgent Space Territory.

      1. bri

        That's an interesting link

        Morning amanfromMars,

        I didn't know that, but can't say I am too surprised. Makes you all warm and fuzzy knowing that we live in a democracy, right? Happily, majority of people can't be bothered, so from democracy POV everything is absolutely just fine. Just fine...

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better than cloud

      In order to be reasonably safe and future-proof, you have to encrypt your data on the client and THEN send it to the cloud or use P2P backup with people whom you trust. .... bri Posted Tuesday 25th December 2012 18:53 GMT

      Is that what Kim Dotcom is offering?

      1. bri

        Re: If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better than cloud

        Could be, if they don't shut him down. And that depends on T&Cs and datacenter locations.

  48. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Separate Locations Essential

    I have written a PhD Thesis, back in the days of 1.4Mb 'floppies'. One set was in my office and was used day to day. Once a day they were backed up onto the set that was in my backpack. Once a week that was left at home and the set at home came in to be backed up (no home computer back then). To wipe out my thesis two locations (one with sprinklers) would have to burn down and I would have to be crushed or incinerated travelling between them, in which case it would have been moot.

    A colleague at the time told of a PhD candidate he had known in a previous, non computerised era. He had given his, handwritten, thesis to a typist to take away and type up, as was common practice. She put it on the back of her moped and set off across town. By the time she got there it was no longer there. He had to recreate it from scattered notes. That was NOT going to happen to me.

    I have lost count of the number of colleagues and family members who have lost stuff because it was not backed up. This machine is backed up to an easily grabable FW drive by Time Machine.

  49. jake Silver badge

    What's with all this "cloud" shit, anyway?

    You DO have a secure link to your own systems when on the road, right? Extend the favo(u)r to friends & family, to the benefit of all ... How? I'm glad you asked ...

    Get three (or four, or five ...) freely available Celeron systems. They should come with enough disk & RAM ... Load any of the freely available OSes on each machine (I prefer BSD). Install one at home (Sonoma, CA), one at DearOldMum's (Duluth, MN), one at Great Aunt Florie's (Padstow, UK), one at the ubiquitous Uncle Bob's (Christchurch, NZ), and etc ... Hook the machines up to their so-called "broadband" Internet modem.

    Install encryption software, and simple scripting to automagically backup user generated code (personal files) at all locations to all other locations on a regular basis.

    So-called "cloud" sorted ... without the hype, or the privacy issues. Or the cost.

    If you can be arsed, add in FTP, Usenet[1], email, HTTP and other servers over the same encrypted links. It's been working for me since before Flag Day ... although granted, I didn't have the encryption capability right from the git-go ;-)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it's not in three places it doesn't exist

    Given that google drive, sky drive, et al work by syncing a _local copy_ at each location they are installed (i.e., desktop and laptop), ignoring the scaremongering 'big brother' arguments, doesn't that make online backup about as robust as you can get (i.e., online, a laptop and a desktop all end up with copies without intervention, and are probably all in different physical locations)

  51. chairman_of_the_bored
    FAIL

    "Would you like Google to remember..."

    A few months ago I visited a website - perfectly innocuous and SFW - that required a login. Because it was a trivial site, I happily allowed Google to remember the ID and password. I missed the distinction - I was not giving Chrome the local browser, but Google the "cloud", the right to keep my data. This only became apparent a few months later when on a clean Linux install I visited the same site, and to my horror discovered the ID and password fields correctly populated. Google may have brainy engineers and security people, but would I trust them to protect sensitive data against all possible attacks? No.

  52. bag o' spanners
    Black Helicopters

    I've yet to run across a cloud provider who could inspire me to leave my data security in someone else's hands. Especially someone I've never met, and who has zero regard for the content, or its replacement value.

  53. JeremyP99

    Who needs the "cloud" with 4TB drives available? Not I for sure.

  54. CCCP
    Flame

    Just put a HD in your own safe?

    Being a lazy etc, I just back up my stuff to a portable hard drive and stick the hard drive in the safe - fire rated to fricking a lot. We can't really get flooded and the thing weighs way too much to move by tealeafs. Oh, and you'd have to contend with the floor bolts.

    The added bonus of a safe is you can put, say, actual prints of old photos and other stuff in there. All safe and sound. No offsite, no NAS, no network required, just a hunk of steel.

    Old skool (just don't lose the bloody keys!)

  55. Matthew Hale

    f^ck cloud storage

    ....this goes for all of it. If I buy /' own something it's mine, and I'm f*cked if I'm leaving it to any corporate slimebag to `look after for me`... along with all the loss of traditional ownership rights that comes with that arrangement.

    Clouds. What a load of hyperbole and marketing crap. Set up your own storage system - space is cheap enough these days. Buy 10 2TB drives for example, hang it off the back of a web server on a 100/200mb connection. Connect to it over the internet. What's the problem?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure it's in there somewhere but:

    'as was apparently the case a few months ago, when the full contents of someone’s Kindle were deleted by Amazon'

    Never happened. It blocked access so when they broke their kindle it couldn't be uploaded to a new one but didn't delete anything.

  57. rav

    The Cloud is your data held hostage.

    How about a personal cloud. A small server with a 4g motherboard. An AMD SeaMicro board would do nicely. All your mobile, laptop and desktop devices would link to it for stored data.

  58. Greyeye

    have two or more ready...

    Having data on the single location is asking for trouble.

    Backup to tape and storing to off-site,

    Network based off-site backup (aka Cloud backup)

    Running over two DCs, (remote sync, DFS-R, RSYNC, etc)

    or low level replications done at the storage level.

    its not about trust CLOUD providers or not, its how the recovery plan and where YOU save the data. If a cloud provider does not provide good recovery plan, its up to you to select one that does, or deploy data on the additional providers (or store locally)

    In Australia, Brisbane, 2011 Jan flood had managed to cause havoc and resulted in massive data losses everywhere. Japan's 2011 earth quake and tsunami and rendered many business near useless.

    Yet, Im surprised to see so many ppl believes local premises RAID, SAN, NAS are good enough to data protection.

    At work, we backup to the remote network, all VMs are cloned and ready to fire up at remote site as needed.

    At home, I use crashplan to backup my photos and images to their sites.

  59. DriverDean

    Obvious?

    And this is not all obvious to whom?????

  60. SmartphoneDesigner

    I'm not sure what the problem is. I love Dropbox plus the Boxcryptor encryption system.

    I have also installed many portable apps on Dropbox (unencrypted).

    (Sadly some older apps are still tied to a specific PC .. but that's life)

    So I now have several PCs at different sites .. each with a local copy of my files (encrypted). My files are also in the cloud (again encrypted). I use a complex layer of password managers to (hopefully) ensure that nothing can go wrong if I have a PC stolen. I also have a 500GB USB backup disk to backup the (encrypted) cloud.

    So, if a PC fails or is stolen, no problem. If Dropbox or the links to it fail, no problem.

    Also I no longer have to worry about losing USB memory sticks on which I have shoved a 'just in case' backup of some files or emails. In fact I rarely save stuff on memory sticks nowadays.

    Each PC is essentially now a Windows system which is a Dropbox client.

    Nothing private is held unencrypted on any PC. - but an encrypted volume of my world IS held on multiple PCs.

    That leaves privacy issues : well, Google etc monitor almost everything I do on my PC so that battle has already been lost. All my (and probably your) emails pass through insecure external systems and so are already at risk.

    Migrating to the cloud has also been beneficial in other ways : I have been forced to review all my files etc to see if they are worth keeping. I now have a much tidier folder structure and I can find all those photos from that holiday in 2001. They are no longer hidden on unbackedup PC #3 in a folder called p1.

    The deduplication & tidying process was revealing ... I had ZILLIONS of duplicate files all over the place, some with differing names ... but now I have just one copy of each.

    So for the first time in many decades I have control of my files ... and they are all tidy too!

    Would I use the cloud etc if I was a copyright pirate or a drug dealer ... probably not.

    However for 'ordinary' use I don't see any increased risk of using the cloud ... we are already spied on every second of every day.

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