Amazon’s Cloud Drive is NOT Online Backup

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With Amazon’s recent announcement of a Cloud Drive, many people are talking about it for online backup. But let’s be clear:

Amazon’s Cloud Drive is NOT Online Backup

Why not?

To explain this, we need to answer, “What is a Backup?”

  1. A backup resides on a different device than the original data
  2. Backup management is done by an application (as the manual process of sorting thousands of files is unwieldy)
  3. At some point, the backup must be moved off site
  4. Backups are to be used for the restoration of data, and nothing else
  5. Backups must allow for recovery at a specific point in time

So, where does Amazon’s Cloud Drive fail?

The first point passes – the backup does reside on a different computer than the original data.

However, the second point fails – with the Amazon Cloud Drive, you must manually upload files. What’s worse, you can only do this through a browser at this point.

The third point is satisfied, as with the nature of a Cloud Drive, the data is off site.

Point number four fails – files in the Cloud Drive, especially MP3 files, are used for much more than restoration during data loss. This is further encouraged by Amazon’s Cloud Player, which enables the streaming of MP3 files.

Finally, the last point fails as well. When you upload to the Cloud Drive, you can only download the latest file that was uploaded.

Then what is it?

Currently, the Amazon Cloud Drive is online storage (not backup) and an MP3 music streaming service. How does online storage differ from online backup?

Files in online storage are manually uploaded and can be the primary source of the data. In addition, they are only deleted when the user instructs the service to remove them.

Online backup is a copy of the original data, and is automatically and regularly updated. Many times, files in backups are deleted after a set period (ex: 30 days)

Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate having a copy of my MP3s in the cloud, allowing me to listen to them wherever I may be as long as I have an Internet connection. But, much as I use Dropbox for syncing some files, I’ll only use Amazon’s Cloud Drive for storing some MP3s. Everything else will be backed up with a true online backup service.

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