Monday, May 16, 2011

Morning Brief: Two lessons from Google's Blogger outage; new hard drive from Seagate targeted at iPad owners

The two day Google debacle is most assuredly not the talk of the town. Unless you were effected directly, you really probably didn't really mind that half the blogs around the world were down – they are just blogs, after all ;) But I can think of at least two important lessons that can be learned from the outage – if you didn't know them already.

First, cloud storage is not about storage. With both Amazon and Google recently launching cloud music services, and with Apple rumored to be about to launch their own, the issue of a cloud service's reliability comes to the forefront. For any cloud service, an outage of service creates a giant warning sign about that company's performance track record. If you are relying on a company of actual storage, even a once in a blue moon outage is cause for worry.
That is why cloud music services are not about storage, they are about convenience. If a service is designed to actually store all that data, then eventually it will fail – an outage is pretty much inevitable. But if the service is about convenience, and customers use the service strictly for streaming, keeping the vast majority of their data on their own hardware, then the service has some value.

One rumor out there involves Apple not requiring users to upload their entire catalog of music in order to use the service. That is, say you are uploading two songs Рsomething by Lady Gaga, and something by Miriodor (a band out of Montr̩al) Рthe service would recognize that there are already copies of the first song and the service would not upload the song, simply recording that you are entitled to a stream of it, the second song would have to be uploaded. The idea here would be that Apple wouldn't have to store ten million copies of the same data, but could instead use their storage space to created redundant storage so that an outage would be next to impossible.

One reason Google's outage didn't seem to be really big news is that America's media, especially its B2B media, is gun shy when it comes to reporting on bad news concerning major companies – that is, US companies.

It is a phenomenon all too familiar to B2B publishers: a company has problems with a product and editors, afraid of upsetting their publishers or the company themselves, either downplays the news or doesn't cover it at all. It is a big reason why America's trade magazine industry has imploded: most B2B magazines are simply not worth reading. (A common phrase heard from prospective readers is always "there is nothing inside that I don't already know.")

With Google, the problem is that the company touches so many areas now: search, advertising, apps.

Yet Google's own response to it's outage should have raised a firestorm: a post on its own online blog once a day simply isn't adequate. But if I were an executive at Google I would have noticed that the PR damage done to the company was negligible, thanks to the media.

Speaking of storage: there are a number of product reviews online this morning for Seagate's new portable hard drive, the GoFlex Satellite. The best one can be found on ZDNet here.

The new hard drive system is really geared for iPad users because it stores and delivers data wirelessly. The drive is completely portable thanks to a small battery that gets charged every time the user plugs it into their dock or directly into their computer – just like an iPhone or iPad. According to the ZDNet review, the drive gets five hours of battery life when in use, 25 hours when in standby mode.

The drive, which will be available in July, is part of the GoFlex system that looks pretty sweet. I currently have numerous Western Digital drives but might check out the Seagate line thanks to this new addition. Here is a promotional video for Seagate's GoFlex line, not including the new model, which explains its system: