There was recently an article on long term data storage on Slashdot. Well, not an article, but one of their annoying open questions on “what do you do for long term storage”? They cite CD/DVD degradation and hard drive failure etc. etc. as some of the perils of backing up things yourself. It made me think of Lance’s “hard drive buddy” proposal and how we could back up each others computers over the web. That would protect against geographic-centric data-loss failure reasons such as theft or fire, but it is still prone to hard-drive failure. And, more importantly, how would my Hulu viewing be impacted by this bandwidth hog?
A good solution would be to use the online-backup idea along with cloud computing. You back up online, not to just another hard drive, but to a data center that has RAID arrays, incremental back-ups, maintenance, UPS, insurance, etc. Okay, so I just searched on “online data storage” and, lo and behold, at first glance it looks as if this exists already. The first company I clicked on is offering this at $3.95 + $.50 per GB per month. My data folder has about 100GB, so I’d be chunking in about $54 a month. Sorry, but no. That seems over the top. At that kind of monthly cost I could, within a year, buy enough hard drives to have my own personal RAID backup system. Plus, you only need back up when you need it, am I right? Ideally there would be a one-time set-up cost ($54 doesn’t seem so bad then) and then a cost to restore your data (again,if my hard drive failed I’d say $54 is fine for recovery.) There would be fees if you wanted to update your data ($0.50 per GB sounds right). What would be nice is if there was an online file browser so that you could restore individual files. What would be extra nice is if this service could interface with OS X’s Time Machine so that I wouldn’t even have to worry about backup. (You know, Apple could easily get into the onine data backup game and it would get more people subscribing to their mobile.me or me.com or whatever they’re calling it. It would make me a subscriber.)
Anything is better than what I do now, which is taking Daguerreotypes of opened Word documents.