Why perfectly reliable storage is not enough

Cloud computing now offers near perfectly reliable storage. Amazon D3 is announcing a 99.999999999% durability and the Windows Azure storage is in the same league.

Yet, perfectly reliable data storage does not prevent data loss - by a long range. It only prevents data loss caused by hardware failure, which nowadays are no more the most frequent cause for losing data.

The primary danger threatening your data is just plain accidental deletion. Yes, it’s possible to setup administrative rights and so on to minimize the surface area of potential trouble. But at the end of the road, someone yields sysadmin powers over the data, and this person is just a few clicks away from causing a lot of trouble.

 A long established pattern to avoid those kind of trouble is  automated data snapshots taken on a daily or weekly basis that can be restored when something will go utterly wrong. In the SQL world, snapshots are given as any serious RDBMS do provide snapshotting as a basic feature at present day.

Yet, in the NoSQL world, things aren’t that bright, and at Lokad, we realized that such obvious feature was still missing from the Windows Azure Storage.

Thus, today, we are releasing Lokad.Snapshot an open source C#/.NET app targeting the Windows Azure Storage and running on Windows Azure itself. Kudos to Christoph Rüegg, the primary architect of this app. Lokad.Snapshot offers automated snapshots for tables and blobs. In addition, Lokad.Snapshot exposes a Really Simple Monitoring endpoint to be consumed by Lokad.Monitoring.

The Lokad.Snapshot codebase should still be considered as beta, although the app is already in production for our own internal needs at Lokad. If your Azure data isn’t snapshotted yet, make sure to have a look at Lokad.Snapshot, it might be a life-saver sooner than expected.