Living on the Cloud

Is it worth storing your own data anymore?

That is the question that we’ve been struggling with for almost a year. For any user that buys a new computer and has to ‘migrate’ their data, the question of what all that stuff is an why do I need it has to come up. For me, it has always been the movement of email from one computer to another. This is even tougher when you start using multiple machines. Double-tough when you add an iPhone or other handheld.

Syncing?? – don’t even get me started.

Is it worth storing your own data anymore?

That is the question that we’ve been struggling with for almost a year. For any user that buys a new computer and has to ‘migrate’ their data, the question of what all that stuff is an why do I need it has to come up. For me, it has always been the movement of email from one computer to another. This is even tougher when you start using multiple machines. Double-tough when you add an iPhone or other handheld.

Syncing?? – don’t even get me started.

So the great (and hopefully final) migration has begun. Keeping local copies of data I need in multiple places just doesn’t make sense any more. You need to find trusted respositories, free if you can, pay if you need to and get this stuff out in the ‘cloud’.

Just to be clear, this isn’t about cost or convenience (although those can be benefits) – its all about survivability. When your family photographs have been digital for almost a decade, there is a significant part of your life that is in bits – literally. And with 2.25TB in a desktop, 2TB in a media PC, and a 1TB NAS the cost of continuing to buy storage for backups isn’t trivial – even at today’s drive prices.

The downside, clearly is security and control. But with half your life on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter – what the hell are you protecting???

For Me its; Email to Gmail, Photos to Flickr, Shared Data to a WebDav service. Next its going to be calendars and general file storage.

The solutions aren’t perfect, but between Google Apps, Amazon S3, Mobile Me, and so on – the line in moving inexorably towards the day when its just not worth the trouble anymore.