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Posted on February 23rd, 2009 by Jon Honeyball

The withering of Ma.gnolia

Ma.gnolia videoIt is extremely easy to sit on the sidelines and say “hahahahaha” when someone else’s system goes bang. Schadenfreud is a particularly self-indulgent emotion.

But I strongly advise you to go to and watch the video. The background is that magnolia was a service which stored bookmarks. A lot of people relied upon it for their bookmark stores, and it was a “software as a service”. A cloud computing thing, if you like.

Unfortunately, it has gone bang, with irretrievable data loss.

Without question, this has been a learning experience for those enthusiasts who put a lot of effort into building the service, irrespective of their understanding (or lack of it) of risk assessment.

When you watch the video, you too will wince as I did about the choices they made. “Did you do any backup testing?” “Nope” made me squirm.

But think of the wider SaaS perspective. When you put a SaaS into your business process, do you really know who you are dealing with? Have you really looked at the SLA, the recovery tools and so forth?

Of course, it would be wrong to scale up a disaster at a community enthusiast site into the wider space of Azure or Google or Amazon services. But vendors will be selling SaaS services hosted on those platforms, and on all sizes of platforms all the way down to one PC with no working backup.

At the end of the day, it’s your business and you have to take responsibility for it. SaaS is not a major thing which cures all known ills.

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Posted in: Real World Computing

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2 Responses to “ The withering of Ma.gnolia ”

  1. Richard Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Watched the first 10 mins of it. Felt kind of sorry for the guy (Larry) on the right but wow this video is a must watch for anybody thinking about handing over their precious data over to a SaaS provider. I’m not saying that isn’t a valid option but this video gives an indication of the kind of hard questions that need to be asked…a classic moment for me was when was Larry said (something like) ‘people thought we were much bigger than we actually were..”

  2. The perils of cloud computing (part II) | PC Pro blog Says:
    February 24th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    [...] hot on the heels of Jon Honeyball’s warning about the dangers of cloud computing, comes another all too real example from no lesser source than the Google press office, commenting [...]


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