Dinning at the Caveat Emptor Café

I had seen the Ma.gnolia service a while back because it was an early adopter of OpenID. But I have not used the service, and now it looks like I never will:

In late January the social bookmarking service Ma.gnolia.com suffered a catastrophic technical failure that rendered all its users’ data irrecoverable. The service did have a data backup facility but it hadn’t been set up properly in the first place and hadn’t been subsequently tested to ensure it worked as expected.

In the fall out it transpires that the Ma.gnolia.com service was actually being run by a one-man-band operating on a shoe string budget with the minimum amount of hardware and software (in this case two Mac OS X servers and four Mac Minis).

There is a cautionary tale here for both cloud service providers and enterprises moving to cloud service. Cloud vendors need to have a tested and proven continuity plans. They need to know that when disaster strikes they will still be able to recover from it and get their customer back on line in a timely fashion. They also need to remember this about their continuity plans:

If you haven’t tested it, it doesn’t work.

Welcome to the Caveat Emptor Café my friends.

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