Do we really need backups anymore?

Like many good sysadmins I’ve been pretty good about keeping backups at home. I’ve done so for a number of years, going through free solutions like boxbackup a while back, and then trying other big name solutions out such as Mozy, CrashPlan and Carbonite. So I got a notice recently that my backups payment was due again. Costs for backups have risen a bit since I remember. It used to cost me about $75 a year and now it’s closer to $120-$150 which made me think…how badly do I need this service?

Let’s back up a bit (pun intended)…

In the old days before everyone was talking about The Cloud you really needed backups. Your e-mail was stored all pretty much on your computer. Your music collection. All those documents on your computer that formerly were in your file cabinet were there. Your contacts list. Your financial stuff. Your photos. All this stuff was on one big Single Point of Failure.

Times have changed…

All the things above typically aren’t on your computer anymore. A lot of people use Pandora or Spotify making the Music Collection obsolete.  iTunes came out with iTunes Match which stored your music in their cloud for you if you still like things that way. If you use Google or Microsoft, they store your e-mail, they have fairly cheap to free drive solutions you can store your documents away including financial stuff. You can use their bank, or Mint for keeping up with finances. Most people take pictures with their phone and there are options to automatically upload your photos to Onedrive, Google Photo, or Dropbox. And they have nice photo album options anyhow so why not put all your photos there?

I started to think about what would happen if I lost my computer right now. What would I freak out about? What would I lose? The answer started to quickly become “not much”. Looking through my hard drive, I realized my computer is turning more and more turn into a client in the cloud server world, and I’m alright with that. I uninstalled my backup software, and didn’t look back.