I have written a number of times about the advantages of cloud computing. However, not everything is perfect. For instance, Amazon had an outage on Thursday of part of its EC2 cloud computing service. It affected many web sites hosted by Amazon EC2 or Elastic Compute Cloud, including the FamilySearch forums.
Actually, Amazon has a number of different cloud-based services and only part of one service was affected. The Amazon EC2 outage was significant but the Amazon S3 and Amazon Cloud Drive services were unaffected.
The services affected were offline completely for about 90 minutes, then were brought back online in staggered groups. Some were back in operation within 90 minutes while others were offline for as much as four hours. No data was lost; all of the sites eventually returned to normal operation with all data intact.
The outage is a great reminder that nothing is ever perfect. Even the best-run, professionally-managed data centers will have occasional problems. Never rely on any one computer or any one service to protect your critical information. Whether that information is stored in your own computer, in the cloud, or anyplace else, you need to have multiple copies, all stored in multiple locations.
I keep my backups in the cloud and in other places as well. A cloud outage certainly is inconvenient but is not a "show stopper" for me and, hopefully, not for anyone else with a proper backup plan.
What would you do if your genealogy data was suddenly lost during a hardware or software malfunction?
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