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Howard Marks
Howard Marks
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No Happy Ending To The Fable Of 'Zodiac Island' And The Cloud Storage Provider

Alas, the tales spun by vendors, analysts and other cloud computing cheerleaders that paint the cloud as an infinitely expandable, reliable and affordable kingdom--where "The winter is forbidden till December/And exits March the second on the dot"--are as fantastical as Camelot itself. WeR1 Production, which produces the syndicated children's show "Zodiac Island," is learning this lesson after Binky the sheep and Sonny the tiger went to the bit bucket.

Alas, the tales spun by vendors, analysts and other cloud computing cheerleaders that paint the cloud as an infinitely expandable, reliable and affordable kingdom--where "The winter is forbidden till December/And exits March the second on the dot"--are as fantastical as Camelot itself. WeR1 Production, which produces the syndicated children's show "Zodiac Island," is learning this lesson after Binky the sheep and Sonny the tiger went to the bit bucket.

According to the complaint in WeR1's lawsuit against CyberLynk of Franklin, Wisc., a former CyberLync employee gained access to CyberLync's systems and deleted a whole season of "Zodiac Island" consisting of about 6,500 files or 300Gbytes of data.  As is common in animation today, WeR1 used an FTP server at CyberLync as a drop box to coordinate work among animators, editors and other creative types in several countries.

CyberLync was supposed to back up the FTP server but was unable to recover the data. To make things just a bit ironic, in addition to web and FTP hosting, CyberLync also sells online backup services and advertises backup consulting services on its website.

Even if WeR1 wins its suit, CyberLync might not be able to pay the true value of the 14 episodes in question. Cloud storage can be a great idea, especially for the collaboration case like WeR1's, but leaving your company's primary asset exclusively in the hands of a third party is too much for me.

The part I find most amazing about this story isn't that WeR1 didn't make its own backup copy of the raw footage and other components of the "Zodiac Island" shows, but that it never saved the final versions. After all, at some point, the episodes are ready to send out to the more than 100 TV stations that broadcast the syndicated show.

Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage ... View Full Bio
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