Springpad looks to reinforce cloud in wake of Amazon disaster

Outage hurts any company with a business model that requires always-on service


The beauty and convenience of mobile computing, Web 2.0 applications and the always-online work- and lifestyle is that everything you know or need to know is always available – as long as your mobile has a connection and your cloud doesn't crash.

Startup Springpad and its customers are discovering the danger in that last bit, as Amazon confesses that not all the customers affected by its hours-long outage and days-long recovery will get all their data back.

That's a problem for Springpad, whose whole business is not only built on Amazon's EC2, but also on the proposition that its own customers can type, scan or speak anything they want into whatever device is in front of them and Springpad will save it for them in a way that will make it useful later.

If it hasn't disappeared into the cracks in Amazon's data centers.

Springpad has been making huge inroads into online note taking, a field crowded with competitors but dominated by blogger-favorite Evernote. Favorable reviews call Springpad more comprehensive,easier to use, easier to organize and better suited for business (even as a CRM).

With more than a million users, a little venture-capital backing, three years in business and only 15 people on staff, Springpad couldn't afford to build its own data centers. It rented Amazon's.

It didn't back up Amazon's cloud with an internal one of its own. Big mistake; understandable given Amazon's reputation, the reputation of "the cloud" for bulletproof reliability and the expense of replicating high-end data centers you can only afford to rent anyway.

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