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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 24, 2006 at 11:50 AM

Inspiration for Microsoft storage column

Today’s column about Microsoft’s plans for the storage business has drawn some interesting feedback, including comments from people who are thinking a lot about online vs. local storage, and real estate development issues.

One reader noted that the cost to backup 300 gigabytes of data using Amazon.com’s S3 service costs more than a 300 gig hard drive at Fry’s, not counting S3’s transfer fees.

Another suggested that King County land-use rules may have restricted Microsoft from building a massive server farm closer to its headquarters. Microsoft does have a similar but much smaller facility in Tukwila that powers its Xbox Live service, but it was put into an existing building and not built on bare ground like the Quincy project. It’s an interesting question, but with or without King County’s policies, land and power are cheaper in Quincy.

One inspiration for the column was a blog posting by Joe Beda, a former Microsoft developer now working for Google in Kirkland. Beda explained how he couldn’t find the ideal solution to store precious documents, including photos of his daughter, so he built a Linux-based network with servers at home and a datacenter in Seattle.

Beda also looked at different software used to synchronize and back up his servers and ended up using a program written by a friend at Google with a similar network setup.

“I don’t think my solution is perfect for everyone but it sort of shows what, if you’re really paranoid, you can do,” Beda told me last week.

I intended to include details of Beda’s setup in the column but faced a storage crisis of my own – my new column template limits me to 18.5 column inches on Monday, and I had to leave some things out to make it fit. There’s clearly a lot of interest in storage options and Microsoft’s moves in this direction, so I’ll have to revisit the topic again soon.

Comments | Topics: Microsoft

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