Why I hate backup

Backup disgusts me. It is the white flag of defeat in a never-ending battle to preserve our stuff against storage devices that don't store reliably. And it's boring.

A few weeks ago was World Backup Day, a worthy attempt to get people to backup and to check their restores. But I couldn't get excited about it.

Which led me to think about why? After all, I backup daily. I encourage my friends to backup and help them set up good backup strategies.

Then I saw this press release from Paragon Software, a maker of storage management and data protection software, from a survey of their Hard Disk Manager customers. Remember, these are people who bought the software, which means they are far savvier than most users.

The headline: A Significant Number of Home PC Users Don’t Practice Effective Personal Data Safety Measures. My favorite: 15% of Paragon's customers who do backup - not all do - backup to the same disk drive that has their data.

My head hurts.

Where to start? But I don't blame consumers for not understanding backup. I blame storage companies for building devices that can't preserve our data.

Virtually all storage devices and systems should come with a bright orange sticker that says "Data loss guaranteed if you don't backup!"

Yes, that's a buzz killer. But it needs to be - until someone perfects highly reliable storage.

The Storage Bits take There are storage systems that don't require backup - one of which survived Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. They rely on data replication and geographic separation.

But for the mobile device world - where your data is one theft away from loss - the goal has to be to make backup automatic and invisible. You get your new device, connect to the web and your data starts repopulating your device.

Or get rid of local storage entirely. But can you trust the cloud?

This isn't an easy problem or it would have been already solved. But we need storage that is as reliable as a book. When was the last time you backed up a book?

Inventors, the world is waiting.

Comments welcome, of course. I quadruple copy critical data, both locally and into the cloud.

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