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posted by ajf on 2006-03-15 at 06:36 pm

Jeremy Zawodny wrote:

In related news, some guy had 300MB of "CRUCIAL data" stored in Gmail and found his account deleted. He had no backups and claims that he "fell victim to Google." He ends by asking for advice because "this is an emergency for me."

How about getting a clue? All I can think is "what kind of dipshit doesn't backup his CRUCIAL data?!" Seriously. Gmail is a free beta service.

I could not agree more. But Ian Murdock disagrees:

Interesting. Is my friend a dipshit too? Am I? Isn't the whole point of software-of-a-service that you can just put your stuff "in the cloud" and let someone else (you know, someone with hundreds of millions of dollars of computing infrastructure and thousands of employees and—presumably anyway—some sort of backup policy) take care of it for you so it "just works"? Isn't that what Google, Yahoo, etc. have been trying to sell us?

My answer: yes, you are both being dipshits.

"Software-as-a-service" does not mean "free stuff on other people's hardware". "Software-as-a-service" means, like all outsourced services, "give me a recurring fee and I will spend as little of it as our contract allows me to get away with". See also: call centres.

If you're getting it for free, like Gmail, you really should read the terms of service, as they ask you to do when you sign up. These documents invariably say "we reserve the right to throw away all your data on a whim". If you want a better guaranteed level of service, you're going to have to throw some money at the problem. You might not always get what you pay for; but in the long run, you definitely won't get what you don't pay for.

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