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So, to avoid emailing every member and potentially losing some, lets move the cloud/server and maybe Startup meetup here.  Tommy may want to add a discussion post on that.  This is a test..

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Ah - This is much better :-)

Keith Powers: "Why any company would ever have on onsite server anymore baffles me. The cloud is here."

Scott Weeks: Because technically-oriented folks want their data secure and fully in their control? :-) Being comfortable with Unix makes all this VERY easy.

You could say the same about generating your own electricity ;-) We had a lengthy discussion about this last year that may be of interest.
I don't follow. I don't want my sensitive info on other's servers even though they say it is encrypted due to security concerns. I want to be in full control of my data. How does that relate to generating my own electricity or being on the grid? No security concerns with respect to electricity....

I will read the discussion...
"It may be comforting to know that your email is on a box you can identify in your company's server room, but who has access to that room? Is it physically secure? Who is in charge of backups? Is he or she a highly trained specialist with a well documented geographically redundant and regularly tested backup system in place?"

I *am* that guy. ;-) Security in Unix is good when you understand it.
Scott, for the rest of the world that doesn't have your skills- myself included, having data in the cloud imho is more reliable. From what I know, the head of paypal security developed Qtask security and now that I have used it for a few years, I am very comfortable with it. At first I was nervous about sensitive data but I realized someone could rob my office, sprinklers could go on, backups could fail.. and I am more exposed those ways vs. a well secured cloud. Also, my street, Dairy Rd. had three power outages in one week in May each a few hours but I got work done at my house (and on my phone) as qtask has everything I needed. /qtask plug..
scott weeks: I don't follow. I don't want my sensitive info on other's servers even though they say it is encrypted due to security concerns. I want to be in full control of my data. How does that relate to generating my own electricity or being on the grid? No security concerns with respect to electricity...
I *am* that guy. ;-) Security in Unix is good when you understand it.

Because these things all inevitably flow toward a utility model due to economies of scale. All homes used to have their own generators. When grids were first created, some people didn't like the idea of an external entity controlling their access to electricity (losing electricity can be a security risk for a number of reasons), so they continued to use their own generators. Over time there were fewer and fewer of these people.

Your security with a company like Google is that they have $180 billion dollars of market capitalization to protect from lawsuits. Are they perfectly secure? No. No nontrivial system is perfectly secure, but they have some of the best security people in the world working for them. In almost every aspect of life, you have to determine relative risk, and how much money you are willing to spend to mitigate that risk. Over 3,000 businesses per day decide to move to Google, and very few leave.

scott weeks: I *am* that guy. ;-) Security in Unix is good when you understand it.

I have no doubt you know your way around Unix, but just because you can do something doesn't mean it makes economic sense to do so. We (Ikayzo) are a software company with plenty of technical know-how (Oracle licenses software from us), but we use SaaS solutions for customers all the time because in many cases it provides them with the best value. Just because we can build something and host it ourselves doesn't mean we should.
The electricity thing is interesting. I wasn't aware of that. And you both are correct. There is a tool for everyone's skill level and need and all should be utilized in the best interests of moving a company forward. I guess I am the whip-n-buggy guy afraid of getting a car... :-)

Sure is nice, though to use "cron" to execute a shell script to securely (using SSH) send backups off site. Something very close to:

#!/bin/sh
DATE=`date -u "+%m-%d-%Y_%H-%M"`
scp -B /home/scott/sensitive-data-file.txt scott@192.168.1.1:sensitive-data-file-"$DATE".txt

That's it. Nothing to pay for other than the time to learn something new: the power of Unix; a free operating system. Here's one for less technically-oriented folks: http://www.ubuntu.com
Last, this one probably won't help the original poster, but look around for open source software to accomplish your tasks. I am sure that with a little searching there is one out there that will do what the original poster needed. Just a quick look gives free GUI programs for backups.

http://www.ubuntugeek.com/flyback-snapshot-based-backup-tool-based-...

"FlyBack is a snapshot-based backup tool based on rsync It creates successive backup directories mirroring the files you wish to backup, but hard-links unchanged files to the previous backup. This prevents wasting disk space while providing you with full access to all your files without any sort of recovery program. If your machine crashes, just move your external drive to your new machine and copy the latest backup using whatever file browser you normally use.

Note that this means you can selectively delete specific backups and still retain files stored in previous ones. (ie., you can delete Tuesday’s backup and keep Monday’s, without screwing up Wednesday’s)"
Here's one more issue with trusting your data to a 'cloud' provider. Research your risks before deciding to maker this move.

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/07/emcs-atmos-shutdown-sh...
Very true, but there is a big difference between betting on Amazon or Google's platforms versus EMC's. Google is more than three times the size of EMC, has expertise in cloud computing, runs their own high traffic applications in the cloud, and enjoys an established customer base using their SaaS offerings.

Here is a local example from today's news about what can happen when organizations that do not have expertise in secure hosting try to do everything internally.
I guess that's one of the harder decisions a small company has to make regarding proprietary data protection: outsource vs. in-house technical ability. It just goes to show that no one size fits all. It also means security netgeeks/sysadmins will be in demand for some time to come. That's good for folks like me... :-)

Thanks for all the replies. It has forced me to re-evaluate my position and everyone needs that now and then.
Scott Weeks: I guess that's one of the harder decisions a small company has to make regarding proprietary data protection: outsource vs. in-house technical ability. It just goes to show that no one size fits all.

Absolutely. There is no golden hammer.

Scott Weeks: Thanks for all the replies. It has forced me to re-evaluate my position and everyone needs that now and then.

Likewise! I've enjoyed the conversation and I'm always happy to hear and learn from differing opinions.

Interestingly, EMC just acquired a company called Greenplum that specializes in VLDBs, Data Warehousing and analytics. We've encountered them when working for customers in the financial space (banks and hedge funds.) It sounds like they plan on creating a new cloud platform targeting the financial sector based on Greenplum's technology.

The general purpose cloud computing space is increasingly a tough playing field. Amazon is one of the few cloud companies that can boast a significant portfolio of companies successfully running apps on their cloud platform for a period of years. Google has great technology and massive amounts of capital to invest. I think EMC's new cloud / grid strategy of concentrating on finance is a good one.

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