My First Cloud Storage Failure

Amazon_Drive_logoI count myself as a skeptic of the new cloud-based world. When I first learned of DropBox I wasn’t willing to trust it with my data. When I read about the frustration of people whose data are still trapped on MegaUpload,  I felt vindicated.

But the tide of progress moved forward and now we have many cloud-based storage providers with enough of a track record for me to dip my toes in the water. Starting in January 2016 I started using cloud-based storage for my personal needs, spreading my files across Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Amazon Drive.

That’s not to say I trust cloud-based storage yet. I still maintain my regimen of home offline backups on removable hard drives. And for the files that I feel are important, I duplicate storage across at least two of the cloud storage providers.

Almost a year and a half in, I admit I see a lot of benefit. I’ve become a lot less dependent on a specific computer as much of my files are accessible from any computer with an internet connection. I can pick up work where I left off on another computer. I can refresh and reformat a computer with far less worry I’ll destroy any irreplaceable data.

And then there are the wacky outliers. When I wanted to obtain a library card, one required proof of local residency is an utility bill. I was able to pull out my phone and retrieve a recent electric bill thanks to cloud storage.

But just like physical spinning hard drives, a failure is only a matter of time. And tonight, after almost 18 months of flawless cloud storage performance, we have our first winner. Or more accurately, our first loser. Tonight I was not able to access my files on Amazon Drive. I get the “Loading” spinner that never goes away.

The underlying Amazon storage infrastructure seems ok. (AWS S3 status is green across the board.) This must be a failure in their consumer-level storage offering, which will probably get fixed soon.

In the meantime, they have one annoyed customer.

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