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Do you have Distributed Data Disorder?

I have to say, this post by Daniel Rasmus on Fast Company is one of my favorites on the cloud thus far:  ”Help For Cloud-Storage Hoarders.” Clever, extremely relevant, and entirely true.  Guilty, I have Distributed Data Disorder, or DDD.

What is it?

DDD is an ailment associated with online storage whereby you’ve dug yourself so deep in a hole of multiple online storage services, emails, social media sites, etc. that you no longer remember where you put what, what you named it, and have no simple means to find what you are looking for.

Daniel paints an awesome picture leveraging his personal experience.  Does this sound familiar?

“I have personally gone through the hoarding of 5 ¼” floppy disks, 3 ½” floppies, CDs, Zip disks, flash drives, memory cards, and hard drives. What are we hoarding now? Online storage. Have you collected Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, Box, and Amazon cloud storage like flash drives to some virtual key ring? Do you have images scattered across Apple’s Photostream, Google + and Picassa, Flickr, and Facebook?” 

You can read all of the symptoms on Daniel’s Fast Company’s article, and there is even a couple cures proposed, so check them out as well. I have to think there’s even more research and development going into this epidemic.  It cannot possibly affect only a select few.  All of the infographics, stats, and charts I have blogged about in the past are evidence this is a growing concern for many.

The simple answer to this…store everything at home on a home NAS or cloud connected storage. Home NAS products have the ability to push photos and videos to social networks like Facebook, can be accessed via smartphones and tablets much like other cloud storage services, and even offer large file sharing opportunities through providing friends, family, co-workers, etc. access to your NAS, or even a specific folder or file.

But, you have to make a commitment to buy the hardware, set it up, and manage it.  The whole beauty of cloud is that you don’t have to buy hardware or software, and you don’t have to worry about upgrades, patches, or maintenance.  Cloud storage services, many times are free (at least to start) and it’s the “free” that sucks you into the service and the vicious cycle of DDD continues.

Wouldn’t it be great if it really didn’t matter where you stored something?  What if your smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet itself could just present all your files in the file and folder architecture you are used to, the one you prefer.  Where your device or system goes to retrieve that information is no longer your concern.  It knows that the video you took of your daughter’s tennis match was saved as Megan_Tennis_091212.mpg and saved to Google Drive, or Facebook, or even locally. The idea that we need to do our own storage management is the problem, and sorry, most of us are just not that organized and/or interested in the science of data management.

Why couldn’t we just hit save, and be done with it?  Like the old days.

Related Posts:

How hard are you hitting your wireless carrier’s hard drives?

Average storage per household to grow 7x by 2016 – How much will be in the cloud by 2016?

Network storage, cloud storage, removable storage…floppy disk?



  • Self Managed Storage is the only way to go. If it needs to be in the classroom curriculum, so be it.

    As the owner of a Data Recovery Company for 20 years, I can honestly say that the only data that you can guarantee, is the data you have in your hands.

    As a photographer for 40 years, I store more than a hundred terabytes of images – perhaps I will give Getty Images a run for their money one day!

    I have different drive colors for each of my basic image types: PEOPLE , PLACES, THINGS

    Because I travel frequently, I further split my PLACES drives by continent, then by country, then by state. Each STATE drive is then split into folders of city, then by actual location. Every file that is saved, is prefaced with that information. Consequently, every file has a single place to live – e.g.

    PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ RAW/’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199.CR2′ (20Mb)
    PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ TIF//’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199A.TIF’ (70Mb)
    PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ PSD//’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199A.PSD’ (70 Mb)
    PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ JPG//’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199As.JPG’ ( 300 Kb)

    Every image I take is stored as a Raw/PSD/Tif/Jpg and with the ‘chosen ones’ at multiple resolutions and sharpnesses to satisfy different sites’ requirements.

    Each of those drives remain offline until required.
    Then of course, each of those drives is duplicated, and then duplicated AGAIN.
    The final copy is moved off site and lives inside a safe (at a friends house)
    A database of every file is kept on my Computer along with the latest downloads from my camera. Each week, every Image File is moved off my computer, into the Offline storage system and the database is updated.

    Individual folders are returned to my Computer Drive (online) for editing and then returned to their respective drives when finished with. They maintain the folder structure while they are online.

    This makes management easy – even though it may sound complex – once the structure is in place – EVERYTHING has a correct place.
    Under THINGS, the structure is more arbitrary, but still organized.
    Under THINGS / FAUNA there are folders for DOGS CATS BIRDS INSECTS etc… and then by Breed, Name or Owner.
    EVENTS COMMERCIAL FLORA BACKGROUNDS ARCHITECTURE all have their own drives, and are treated similarly to the PLACES example above.

    I currently use 20 x Seagate 2.5″, Go-Flex USB 3.0, 1.5Tb drives as my primary storage, and 2 sets of 12 x Seagate Backup Plus 4 Tb Drives as my Backup.

    I have tried many other ways of storing data, and this appears to be the best way so far.
    I recommend that everyone learns the right way to store data as part of their ‘license to drive a computer’.

    Data should be Online, Nearline, Offline AND Offsite or you really don’t care about having access to your files!

    …. Now, off to see where I can get a deal on some more 2.5″ Go-flex drives!

  • [...] Do you have Distributed Data Disorder?Do you have Distributed Data Disorder? – The Storage Effect Svar med [...]

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