Thoughts on local versus remote storage.

I was downloading something tonight (legally!), and was impressed with how fast it came down. It was not that it was anything outstanding by today’s standards, but it got me thinking (especially with the trend towards storing more in the cloud and processing more in the cloud).

It reminded me of something that hit me back in the late 90s (somewhere in there, at least). At the time, I downloaded a lot of utilities and other games and toys and stuff from the Internet – freeware and shareware stuff – and whenever I would download something, I would generally back it up to a floppy. Then one night I was watching something I had just downloaded copy to a floppy, and it struck me that it was actually taking longer to move it to the floppy than it had taken to download it.

And now things are going much the same way. Most software installs I download (these days it is Microsoft stuff, mostly, but some open source stuff as well), it is not worth backing up because I can re-download it much more quickly that I can restore it from back up.

We are rapidly reaching the point where local storage of anything but the most immediately useful stuff is just not important – if it is store somewhere out there in the cloud, I can get it back faster the restoring it locally.

Then again, I think of what happens if there is some sort of disaster – of course in that situation I am more worried that all of our data and knowledge is electronic and not physical like a good book. But what about situations like what happened with the SideKick last year. Do you ever really stop and wonder how permanent the data you have out there in cloud really is?


I have been working in the world of technology for 25-odd years. I am an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on software solutions, social networking, and innovation processes. Currently, I am a Principal Consultant with T4G Limited, specializing in Portal Technologies (including SharePoint), software/systems development, service oriented architectures, and many other things which I will probably not remember until I need to use them. Prior to that, I was VP of Technology at Whitehill Technologies, Inc., where I spent almost 9 years helping to grow the company from a start-up to one of the most successful private software companies in Canada. Prior to that I worked on internet conferencing using early VoIP, and on large military communications projects. Before even that, I worked in satellite control, and remote sensing. Going way back to university, my focus was on theoretical physics and astrophysics. Currently my interests revolve around most aspects of software development, from technologies to management, and in the area of defining sustainable, repeatable processes for innovation within technology organizations. I also have a particular interest in Tablet PC technologies – I have been using one for several years, and I love it. On the personal side, I still have a strong interest in all aspects of science, especially physical sciences, as well as philosophy and comparative religion. In addition, I am into music, playing guitar (badly, I am sorry to say), and reading almost anything I can lay my hands on. I am also a member of the IEEE/IEEE Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery.

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Please keep in mind that any opinions, points-of-view, comments, or other content which I post to this site are mine and mine alone. They in no way reflect the views of my employer, my country, my dog, my cat, or anyone else you can think of. To paraphrase Monty Python, "That is the theory that I have and which is mine, and what it is, too."

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