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Another Cloud Failure

Another consumer cloud service reported losing weeks of customer data. Mobile phone giant Nokia reported that a chat and presence beta service, Contacts on Ovi, lost three weeks of customer data when a server crashed. It was only a beta service, so only a small number of users were affected, the company says. Still...

It is not the first time a first time a cloud service has lost its customers' data, and it won't be the last time. Both Google and Amazon made headlines last year when some of their services suffered from outages. In most cases, these failures involve consumer services. But they serve to scare enterprise IT managers away from cloud offerings, at least those coming from companies without a history of providing services that have enterprise-class reliability and redundancy.

One of Nokia's servers failed due to a broken cooler. Nokia lost all data backed up to the server between Jan. 23 and Feb. 9. An Ovi product manager wrote in a blog post: "Nothing can make this right, we know, but we're hoping that you can forgive us and give [us] another chance to give you good service."

Imagine trying to tell your boss that days or weeks worth of crucial company data was lost because a server failed at your cloud service provider. It would be a clean-out-your-desk moment. Which is why most serious storage administrators won't trust many of the new cloud service providers with important data, and the smart ones will always have stuff also backed up to local storage systems or disaster recovery sites.

That's not to say that there aren't solid cloud service options for conservative storage administrators. IBM and Savvis, two companies with long histories of providing reliable enterprise on-demand and utility computing and storage services, are among the recent vendors to jump into the cloud. They understand that they are storing data that is more important than family pictures or the latest downloaded tunes, and they handle the data in ways to make it secure and available.

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