Friday, August 15, 2008

2.0 Site Goes Kaput - Now What?

The Washington Post reported that Vongo, the all-you-can-view movie site run by Starz, has gone out of business. Well, really, technically, not out of business, they are moving all the content over to the Verizon service called Starz Play.

Which is fine - IF you're a Verizon customer. If you're not - you're S.O.L. after September 1st.

That means that all the movies that you may have paid for with your $10 per month subscription will no longer be viewable. OK - so it's not like having Salesforce or Google go belly up and taking all your data with it - but still, I think it's the "shot across the bow" that will wake some folks up to the realities of life in the cloud.

With all of these hosted solutions there's no warranty, no SLA, no guarantee about data loss, no language about what happens to your data if they just turn off the DNS.

What would happen to your data if one of these services just folded up? Presumably there would be dozens (hundreds?) of servers full of hundreds (thousands?) of companies data, email, spreadsheets, documents, memos, etc.

Who owns that data? The customer? The provider?

What if the provider just sells the entire data center full of servers to a third party - and doesn't bother to wipe the drives? And what happens if that third party then takes sensitive information and sells it or exploits it?

Who is liable?

As it is - you're responsible to back up your own data (even from a cloud provider) - but do you really do it?

I think as we go along the PaaS road - these questions will inevitably be answered - hopefully in the "right" way. Perhaps there is some room for a third party to come up with a solution to create a product that would allow companies (and individuals) back up their data in a painless, seamless way - for all of their cloud data.

One option that I think we'll see as a sort of stop-gap measure is that these types of applications will support a true disconnected model - by storing the data on the local drive in a lightweight SQL database that would then synch back up with the "main" cloud data store.

Hey - Servoy developers - I'm smelling an opportunity here...

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