Be cautious when using online services (or: you get what you pay for)

Earlier today (or yesterday, depending on your time zone), Ayende wrote about the consumer pitfalls of software-as-a-service (see Software as a Service is a matter of trust)… which made me think of some of my own “saas” experiences.

Back almost two years ago, CodePlex went down for a few days and suffered significant data loss when it came back up (see CodePlex: Did they forget to back up a server?). That was the last time I willingly used CodePlex for any open-source project.

I also remember some time back when I tried various online backup and synchronization tools. I tried XDrive (soon to be defunct) — which worked well until I realized it corrupted a large chunk of my documents. FolderShare (now Windows Live Sync) was impressive but had a habit of sync failures and/or deleting when it shouldn’t. (Granted FolderShare was a beta, and Live Sync is not, so many issues may be resolved.) In the end, I went with Mozy.

GMail goes down, too — which is why I sync locally with Thunderbird. Assembla has gone down a bunch of times — which is why I now use (and, before that,

Over the years, I’ve grown to become wary of anything free or too cheap to be commercial when it comes to critical information. Many free or “beta” services should not be trusted implicitly with important data – a warning everyone should heed.

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