The sky itself may not be falling, but some of your data may be falling out of the clouds.

As I read about various cloud-computing initiatives shutting down (and probably for good reason) I can't help be wonder about the people that faithfully parked their information in the cloud, for free or fee, so that it would be available anywhere and at any time. This year, we've seen several businesses shut down, providing little notice for users to backup their information. And, when they do, it's often in a format that cannot be easily migrated elsewhere.

Others learned about the perils of DRM protected music when you vendor decides to shut down its licensing server. (This subject has been covered widely so I won't go into detail.) I'm sorry, telling a user that they can protect their investment be burning every song they have purchased to CD and then ripping them into another music app is unacceptable. They should honor the service or unlock the purchase. But I digress.

Back to the cloud. Oh yes, the sky is falling. I don't know about you but, unless I have real-time replicas of everything, I am already very cautious when it comes to storing my data where I cannot see or control it.  I have almost 20 years of data in Lotus Notes. I can access my oldest information as easily as I can access the newest. I do have hosted Domino servers but the data I store there is simply a replica. If the provider goes belly up, I still have full control over all of my data locally.

I have less of a concern about the social networking sites where the value of much of the information diminishes over time. So, if I lost Twitter,  I would not grieve as something else would emerge to take its place. If I lost LinkedIn, I would hurt a little more, but since my public profile is mostly static I can make a copy from time to time. On the other hand, my life working data - my email, my applications, etc., that's another story.

Are you confident that your cloud-computing vendor will be around next year? What about your data?  How does this affect your decision to move your data into the cloud?

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