Data Loss – nothing new here!

One of the fore-runners of information storage and retrieval has after a long running saga of various failures including security breaches, data theft, data theft, mis-indexing and general mal-administration including corruption and incompetence has finally closed it doors today in dramatic fashion which has resulted in the loss of a great proportion of the world’s knowledge. Fortunately there were some distributed back-ups but sadly some data has been lost forever.

When the Royal Library in Alexandria burnt down, a huge loss to the world’s knowledge was felt but nobody decided that concepts of centrally stored information in the forms of libraries was fatally flawed. It was also fortunate that there were other libraries, even within the great city of Alexandria; which ensured some books survived. It would have been better if there had been a policy of copying all scrolls and ensuring that these were distributed through-out the world but the concept of Libraries are still with us and no-one is suggesting that libraries are a bad idea.

The recent catastrophic failure of the Sidekick service resulting in thousands of people loosing their personal data should not be seen as a failure of the Cloud; it’s not! It’s the failure of a centralised service which was apparently run by incompetents!

It is yet another lesson that if you only have a single copy of your data; you might as well only have no copies of your data. So if you are archiving and deleting, you better make sure that you have two copies of the archive or at least the ability to recreate that data. Read your SLAs and ask questions about the data-protection policies of anyone who is looking after your data; both internal and external providers.

That reminds me, better take a backup of my blog and better back-up my gmail account as well.

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Martin Glassborow

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