Linden Lab’s recent problems with Second Life servers, as well as problems with our own Moodle server lead me to write an entry this week on the dangers of complete faith in online data storage.
The concept of the Web as being cyber and something that doesn’t exist is certainly very misleading, for although there space is conceptual and cannot be seen, the information that constitutes the Web lies within hard drives that are located somewhere in the world as a real, three-dimensional product.
If, therefore, I post some very important on a Web site that is hosted by a company that goes bankrupt and decides to get rid of all its facilities, then my information, naturally, no longer exists on the Web. That is why in many cases, we click on links and find that certain Web pages no longer exist.
Does that mean that the Internet is unreliable? Perhaps that is why people turn to the bigger companies, in hopes that they will be more reliable, rather than some small Internet host that has high risks of disappearing some day. Or maybe we must all become storage-phobias and make it a habit of creating backups every few weeks.
As for game operators, it may be cost-effective for Linden to outsource the hosting of its Web servers, but for massively multiplayer games, which Second Life is beginning to become, tending to the servers are a crucial part of the service. Second Life only has a few thousand people online- the massively multiplayer game operators, who have tens and thousands of concurrent players keep their servers in their own companies, or at least in locations nearby because constant work must be done to keep connection stable.
Unfortunately, one bad server glitch can cause people to lose faith, or even lead to lawsuits, if security problems or money losses were involved during the lapse in which the problem took place.