December 4, 2012

Storage Technology meets Shameless Self Promotion

Thankfully, both are ThreeSources categories.

The bulk of my growed-up professional career has been in data storage. Our company built products around Exabyte's 8mm tape drives. Your grandpa perhaps recorded movies on those tapes in his Sony Camcorder. I wrote brochures extolling the wonder of "tapes that fit in your shirt pocket." They replaced washing-machine-sized disks and the Kubrick-2001-style reels of 9-track tapes.

Ahh, storage nostalgia, I know many eyes are getting misty (we have a preponderance of storage folk 'round these parts). But improvements in storage quickly leave your backups worthless for any kind of long term access.

Today Runté, a professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, backs up to multiple devices and advises grad students to send a hard copy of every new chapter of their all-important theses to the most reliable of off-site backups: Mom.

Runté's experience points to the ultimate, inevitable problem with data storage: All interfaces and formats eventually die. Data storage consultant Tom Coughlin, founder of Coughlin Associates, calls it a fight against nature, saying, "the laws of thermodynamics are against you."

I just started a long procrastinated project to digitize a storage tub full of my old recordings. I want to put some of the best up as The JK Boxed Set. Has-been artists collect a lot of their old crap to release and I thought it time I get on it.

I am glad I am doing it, because I am encountering several missing formats and some that will certainly be tough in a few years. There were a few formats that I did not have, but most of that was raw tracks and I assumed I had the final mixes on something that I could read. Some formats are missing and some of the media is failing.

I know everybody wants a backup they can put their hand on, and I will toss this on an external hard disk, but barring a Mad Max Ayn Rand societal collapse, I think the answer is cloud storage. This will live on my hosting site, I could create a Gmail account, plus these live on YouTube and Vimeo. With the growth of data, a measly 10s of Gigs is not going to be anything anybody worries about., Right?

Shameless Self Promotion Technology Posted by John Kranz at December 4, 2012 6:02 PM

Is there a downside to cheap, reliable terabyte scale data storage? Only insofar as government is involved. But these days, what isn't government involved in?

The FBI records the emails of nearly all US citizens, including members of congress, according to NSA whistleblower William Binney. In an interview with RT, he warned that the government can use this information against anyone.


RT: You say they sift through billions of e-mails. I wonder how do they prioritize? How do they filter it?

WB: I don’t think they are filtering it. They are just storing it. I think it’s just a matter of selecting when they want it. So, if they want to target you, they would take your attributes, go into that database and pull out all your data.


RT: What are they going to do with all of that? Ok, they are storing something. Why should anybody be concerned?
WB: If you ever get on the enemies list, like Petraeus did or… for whatever reason, than you can be drained into that surveillance.

Probably deserves its own post, but the tie-in was too ironic to pass up. Worth at least a brief click through.

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2012 2:58 PM

The Refugee is considering a business model that will make him the Bernie Madoff of Cloud storage. That is, create a website that advertises to backup your data for just $.05 per GB per month. Then, when the user backs up their data, every last byte goes straight into the ol' bit bucket. No backend storage whatsoever. Users can't find their data? They musta screwed something up. Then just as the Feds come sniffing around, sell all credit card numbers to the Russian mafia on the way to the airport.

Seriously, everyone assumes that Cloud hosters are both here forever and best-practice organizations. It's a matter of time before one of them blows up petabytes of data, never to be recovered.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 5, 2012 3:27 PM

Observation the one: You never know if your immigration, abortion, gun rights, or football post will draw comments on ThreeSources. But storage brings out the loquacious around here like $1 margarita night.

Observation the two: good point br. The accumulated wisdom of ten blogging years is subject to single point of failure from But an odd old guitar solo on a demo of mine from 1990, living on Vimeo, YouTube, and Lunarpages seems awfully stable -- especially compared to the single Sony minidisk in a Rubbermaid tub in the garage where it lived last week.

Observation the three: Dr. Yaron Brook and BB&T Hoss John Allison both assure that Bernie Madoff was miserable. A better model might be to charge customers and store it on free sites in the cloud. I pay you, you send it from one Gmail account to another...

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 3:50 PM | What do you think? [3]