Something that has been on my mind recently is the fact that cloud type businesses are bombarding us from every direction. Suddenly everything is “out in the cloud” or just “out there”, well my question is what happens when a cloud type business fails and you depend on them? There is no way all of these cloud businesses are going to make it, they will get weeded out and some will go under.
Cloud = Internet. A cloud business relies on the internet to move data or to store data, and also to move commands in order to maintain a service. A cloud business is nothing without the internet. Pretend that your toaster required the internet for it to work. Pretend you had to log into a website in order to tell the toaster how long to toast, and when to start toasting. What if the business that sold you that toaster ran the website you had to log into… Are you starting to get it?
Anyway back to the fail scenario of a cloud company. I’ve identified two companies that if they fail there will be a lot of head scratching and unhappiness. Because without the company and it’s internet presence what are you going to do?
Pogoplug – I’ve written a review of the Pogoplug and I generally really like it. But what if Cloud Engines the maker of the Pogoplug goes under? You must log into my.pogoplug.com to initiate the device and use it, but what if the company were no longer in business?
Worst case is that you are out some cash on the investment for the Pogoplug. Your files are still on the connected USB drive that is in your possession, so this wouldn’t be too big of a deal.
Luckily there are hackers out there that are installing alternative Operating Systems on the Pogoplug hardware as we speak. I think they would become the center of attention if Pogoplug failed and the wisdom of the crowd would produce a solution for the non working hardware.
Open-Mesh Cloudtrax – Open-Mesh sells relatively affordable wireless mesh units that make it easy to blanket a business or land with wireless coverage. After installing the units they are then configured and maintained by way of Cloudtrax.com website. This is where the problem comes up. I personally don’t see Open-Mesh going under, it is just an example. They have been around for quite some time and seem to have a very solid business plan and a great service.
What if Open-Mesh were to go under and you could no longer maintain your wireless network through the Cloudtrax service? It would mean a huge loss on hardware and labor to install the units in the first place, all because the company went under and you could no longer talk to your network. Meraki is a competitor to Open-Mesh, so the same could be said about them on what would happen if they went out of business.
Megaupload also comes to mind where a legitimate cloud company is targeted for no reason, and many of it’s users are hurt because of it. Megaupload was doing nothing different than a lot of bigger names like Google, Amazon, Youtube, Rapidshare, Dropbox, etc. I think Mega took the hit because it’s founder was a bit over the top and flashy.
Having a cloud service go under is a very valid concern. Whether it is your important data or a needed service you rely on, you need to keep this in the back of your mind when using these services. Adding hardware to the mix elevates the problem because of the added cost you initially had to get things set up. I’m sure there are other combination cloud / hardware companies out there that I don’t know about. All you can do is keep local backups of your important data, and be very picky when it comes to investing in cloud hardware.