Do Not Blame the Cloud, It Was Just One Service

By now you have probably heard that bookmarking service Ma.gnolia has had a rough day. Many people are already calling this a wake-up call that we cannot depend on cloud applications for our day to day activities. Even Corvida of SheGeeks worries about this but brings up a very good point at the end of her post:

Just remember to save a backup of your bookmarks somewhere on your hard drive next time.

This is a very important point that everyone has seem to have forgotten. If you have your important information on an internet service, you should back up that information to your hard drive. However, this only matters if you actually back up your hard drive as well.

Catastrophies like a server or database crash do happen to services every day. In many cases, there is some clustering technology and database backups that make the outage minimal or even hidden. We have gotten used to that type of availability and complain when we do not get it.

The more interesting part is that people do not have a “wake-up call” if their Windows machine crashes and results in total data loss. There is a lot of complaining that we forgot to back up our data or we need to find the backups that we had. However, that is really no different than what happened to Ma.gnolia. For years, Microsoft Outlook corrupted .pst files so that they became unreadable. People complained a lot and Outlook got more stable, but there was no wake-up call.

There is no need to overreact to this outage. Let’s keep the emotions down, because in reality it is just a bookmarking service. If your bookmarks are mission critical information to you, you should have been backing them up regularly as well. If not, you are at fault as much as the service you use. So, I ask that we give the folks at Ma.gnolia a break and wish them the best in their efforts. If they can recover soon, I bet that they will have a better backup and recovery plan in place very quickly.

If this happens to Google’s GMail or some online backup or storage service, then feel free to announce a wake-up call. I will be right next to you with the bullhorn πŸ™‚

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4 thoughts on “Do Not Blame the Cloud, It Was Just One Service

  1. Hi ,

    I have written a service to save passwords online in a secure way (I used Google application engine) –

    The backup option was the first thing I developed after the core functionality was ready – but from looking at the logs I can tell that most of the users never backup.

    I hope my service will never go offline but if it does – at least the smart users will have there data available…



  2. I’d prefer to back them up to another web service, myself πŸ˜‰

    Perhaps by copying to something like Evernote or by having a feed directing them into another service automatically

    For other types of information, an offline backup may be useful, but is probably not that good for bookmarks

    – imma


  3. Imma

    Online backups are fine, especially for something net-related like bookmarks. Generally speaking, backups are not meant to be “useful” but more of a “savior”. Having the offline backup allows you to have one last place that might have the information.


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