Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Clouding Around - Still, There Are Pitfalls For Cloud Computing

As more folks get used to the mobile computing life, we need to be reminded that the data we access with our mobile devices and smartphones don't always sit quietly in storage waiting to be accessed when the time came.

And recently, Pre owners were given a pretty harsh lesson of that when the Pre profile server crashed, leaving Pre owners without access to their data.  But don't think this is an isolated incident.  Remember when Apple debut push mail for the iPhone?  Yeah, Apple had to apologize multiple times and provide MobileMe users two extra months of free service.

Is that Google fans laughing I'm hearing?  What?  Don't remember the Gmail outages?  A couple of times if memory serves.

This reminded me of an argument with a friend who worked at Yahoo.  I told him it's important to me that I always have a copy of my data and e-mail on my laptop when I don't have access to the Internet.  No Internet access, no webmail or files stored in the cloud.  Right?

So, I'm telling my fellow mobile warriors this:  pitfalls and trials by fire are to be expected as we move boldly forward in shaping the mobile market.  There will be servers that crash.  Services taken down for maintenance that turn into outages.  Denial of services.  Natural disasters.  I'm sure you can name a few other types of incidents that will leave you without your precious mail, contacts, schedules, and wireless Internet.

For mobile users, it's always good to find a way to back up your information.  MobileMe allows you to storage in your information with the Mac or Outlook while Google offers off-line access to data including Gmail.

For folks who rely on cloud storage, it's good to use services like MobileMe and Dropbox that synchs a copy of files to a local folder.

Anyway, Pre owners got their data back and things are fine again.  But it is a sobering experience for everyone.  Cloud services will continue to grow and mature.  Perhaps, we'll one day have enough redundancy with our wireless services that we'll never truly have to worry about losing access to our data.  But until then, it's always good to practice some old school computing.  Keeping a copy of your data locally if you can.

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