I share all of your concerns and wholeheartedly agree that for me, giving those dollars every month for pennies worth of storage doesn't make sense. With terabyte hard drives as cheap as they are these days, the case for renting space on a remote hard drive would need to be much more compelling than it is today before it would pique my interest.
We could extend this to the next level of the cloud -- cloud computing -- and the issues are much the same. CPUs, motherboards & DRAM are cheap enough that it makes no sense for most individuals to rent them from a remote provider just to run software that can be run locally. For small businesses that need access to lots of parallel computing power, the case can be made for cloud computing. I'm thinking of a hardware startup that would need short-term access to a large compute farm to support design & verification of an SoC. For them, rent vs. buy probably favors renting.
But for most individuals, the cost of bandwidth still outweights the cost of computing power & the cost of storage. Will that balance tip the other way someday? I don't see it happening any time soon.
I have an external drive and an internal one for backup. The external drive stays at work and I periodically bring it home to duplicate the internal drive. Fire protection most nights and duplicate backups. Faster than cloud backups too.
I think Brian's points are valid and anyone who want to subscribe any cloud based storage service shall analyze their needs by going through all those points.
To me, there is at least 1 downsize of putting my storage to the cloud. Cloud service heavily relies on your broadband. In spite of accessing files anywhere, the advantage doesn't outpace the convenience of accessing files in a timely fashion. In addition, what if the ISP is doing maintenance work for an hour while I need a file, like now. Sometimes, I just don't want to take the chance.
I can see how corporation needs a highly redundency backup solution. I understand some individuals might prefer it as well. Yet, I think cloud storage is not for everyone. You should to a cost analysis before consideration subscribe the service.
Another name for cloud storage would be wide area SAN. If the Internet were as fast as a typical SAN's local FC or Ethernet network, then it would be wondrfully useful. In the real world an Internet connection is orders of magnitude slower and/or far more expensive. It is more or less a solution in search of a problem.
Yeah, I don't really see the advantage for an individual, it isn't cost effective. At least not for space hungry things like pictures. Tax info? maybe.
For businesses however, having a remote backup that is accessible from anywhere has some very obvious advantages. Many companies follow a multiple apparoach that involves a remote backup as well as a local. You can't be too safe!
Where I live, tornados are not uncommon. Having your important databases uploaded to a remote backup facility 85 feet underground is a no-brainer. However, it might be financially smarter to rent rack space as opposed to using a "cloud backup service".
I remember many years ago, in a company that I worked for, that they had a reciprocal arrangement with another company. It was all part of a larger dissaster recovery plan. Each company had a machine, disks and other storage areas for offsiting the other companies data. In the event of dissaster, there were also plans as to how each company would provide space and other resources to enable them to continue vital operations while more long term solutions were put in place.
I just purchased a private cloud on an Indiegogo campaign, called the Cloudlocker. It's a private cloud that I can keep at home on my network, but it's only accessible thru a browser or desktop/mobile app. I have physical control over it, so the Feds still need a warrant to see what's inside.
So far, I'm a big fan. I don't need email attachments anymore. I just send links to files in the Cloudlocker. Plus, I can set permission to view-oinly, so people can look, but not touch the files themselves. A big plus is streaming playlists. I can make a playlist of music and send it to anyone who can play 100 songs on a phone or tablet & since they stream from the Cloudlocker, they take up no space on their phone. Same with movies.
Another thing. Dropbox etc creates backups of efverything I used to upload. Nice, but they never come down. Even if I delete the file & close the account, Dropbox still has the file they can give to NSA or IRS or... We lose the power to be forgotten with public clouds.
My final thing. I've stopped feeding my Facebook. When I post pix, I use links, not the files, so Mark Z only owns the links, not my files. I kinda like that.
This makes lot snese to have private network and have it assessible via some IP link rather than putting files on cloud. I personally never get the concept of cloud. Why would I need my files on net and always accessible? Even if I do I would setup my FTP server and get static IP or alternate solution to acces it all the time. I will never have top feed cloud providers for their network/disk and salaries.
yes, anyone who actually looks at cloud prices will be scratching their head. why would anyone pay vendors that much money? the funny part is that business types just utter the mantra "economies of scale" and assume that the market will guarantee an efficient price. well, there's also the "no one was ever fired for buying IBM phenomenon".
Excellent analysis Brian...I think the chance of Rackspace going up are much higher than fire in my office...I will gladly stay off-cloud...BTW, who was the marketing genius that created the term "cloud"? Storage area networks (SANs) existed long time before but one day this "wonderful" cloud technology appeared out of nowhere...Kris
I think most of you are missing the economic point.
Let's start with the basics. An offsite storage company is far more likely to have incremental backups, recovery, etc. that works versus what you may do on your own. Even Dropbox has an unlimited history option. Keep in mind, nothing is every stopping you from making a backup every once in a while of everything you have in the cloud which is likely already mirrored on your own hardware. The odds of losing the mirrored cloud and your mirrored on site storage at the exact same time are so low as to not even be worth discussing. The odds of losing your local storage and your local backup at the same time are much higher, especially if you do not have off-site, but even if you do, how often are you doing that off-site storage.
Of course, even that is not the economic point. TIME IS MONEY!
What the poster failed to take into account is the amount of time he would spend maintaining his backup system, hardware installs, confirming proper operation (how often have you done a recovery check?), the time to move data off-site, etc.
I think you were looking at $130/month. What you described in terms of a backup regimen is easily going to lose you $130/month in lost productivity at hat you do best .... photography. Doing backups and maintaining networks is not what you do best (I hope being a photographer).
Realistically knowing a bit of the photography flow, you will have a local raid anyway for speed of access and then offsite mirroring for low speed long term backup.
As a consultant, I spend time consulting, not worrying about my backups. It is takes me even extra hour a month worrying about backups, it is too much.
On the security standpoint, if you are worried about prying eyes, use encryption.
If you don't have daily incremental remote backups, then you can't really say your data is safe. Fire, severe weather, flood, crime, etc., can all put your data at risk. The straightforward home solution is remote backup from Mozy, Carbonite, etc. For 1 TB, they charge from $100/year to $100/mo.