“I can buy a 1 TB drive at Fry’s for nothing! These disk services are dirt cheap, and I don’t have to worry about hardware! Why does your storage solution cost so much?”
It costs so much because all of the above services come with these little caveats (or something like them):
7.2. Security. We strive to keep Your Content secure, but cannot guarantee that we will be successful at doing so, given the nature of the Internet. Accordingly, without limitation to Section 4.3 above and Section 11.5 below, you acknowledge that you bear sole responsibility for adequate security, protection and backup of Your Content. We strongly encourage you, where available and appropriate, to use encryption technology to protect Your Content from unauthorized access and to routinely archive Your Content. We will have no liability to you for any unauthorized access or use, corruption, deletion, destruction or loss of any of Your Content.
11.5. Disclaimers. AMAZON PROPERTIES, THE MARKS, THE SERVICES AND ALL TECHNOLOGY, SOFTWARE, FUNCTIONS, CONTENT, IMAGES, MATERIALS AND OTHER DATA OR INFORMATION PROVIDED BY US OR OUR LICENSORS IN CONNECTION THEREWITH (COLLECTIVELY THE “SERVICE OFFERINGS”) ARE PROVIDED “AS IS”. WE AND OUR LICENSORS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE WITH RESPECT TO THE SERVICE OFFERINGS. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY APPLICABLE LAW, WE AND OUR LICENSORS DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, QUIET ENJOYMENT, AND ANY WARRANTIES ARISING OUT OF ANY COURSE OF DEALING OR USAGE OF TRADE. WE AND OUR LICENSORS DO NOT WARRANT THAT THE SERVICE OFFERINGS WILL FUNCTION AS DESCRIBED, WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, OR FREE OF HARMFUL COMPONENTS, OR THAT THE DATA YOU STORE WITHIN THE SERVICE OFFERINGS WILL BE SECURE OR NOT OTHERWISE LOST OR DAMAGED. WE AND OUR LICENSORS SHALL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, POWER OUTAGES, SYSTEM FAILURES OR OTHER INTERRUPTIONS, INCLUDING THOSE THAT AFFECT THE RECEIPT, PROCESSING, ACCEPTANCE, COMPLETION OR SETTLEMENT OF ANY PAYMENT SERVICES. NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION OBTAINED BY YOU FROM US OR FROM ANY THIRD PARTY OR THROUGH THE SERVICES SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY STATED IN THIS AGREEMENT.
Disk is cheap. Managed data storage isn’t. You get what you pay for; shelling out money for an enterprise capable, robust, backed-up-and-disaster-resistant managed data storage system is shelling out money to protect your data. You throw your company data on S3 and you’re outsourcing your disaster recovery plan to Amazon.
Maybe that’s not a big risk. Maybe it’s no risk at all, depending upon your data, your organization, and the potential threats to your business. But let me tell you this: if your disaster recovery plan requires a person to manually back data up, your disaster recovery plan isn’t a plan at all, it’s a feel-good rainbow fantasy.
(edited to add): Bruce takes on the cloud computing hype..