Application Hosting: The Queasiness of Lost Data
The availability of my website has been extremely spotty recently. I've been aggressive about using third-parties to host my personal data. So far this hasn't been a problem, that was until CVSDude decided to change their business model and name to Codesion and more than tripled their price.
I was contacted by their support and I told them I wasn't happy with the new rate, but they reassured me that if I moved a bunch of code and deleted some repositories my billing would be decreased from $21 per month to $6.99. The higher rate was based on the large number or repos I had. I was willing to put up with the hassle of moving my data to save a little money. It seemed like no big deal, until my account was shut off last weekend with no way to access my data.
I can't tell you how infuriating this experience was. I eventually checked all my records, and to make a long story short, they botched the billing of their new plans and had my account delinquent although I had been paying them right along.
Even after squaring up the billing (and actually receiving a refund for being OVERcharged), I insisted on getting a dump of my repos. This is where it gets really weird. They said if I canceled my account they would provide a dump of my data, but if I stayed with them, it would be $100.00. I've never heard of any company providing an incentive to fire them, so what do you think I did? I got my data and fired them. Fortunately I have never lost any data using hosted services, but this is the worst experience I've had.
I am firm believer in application hosting and I advocate these services to our clients, but now I understand what it is like to be on the other side and not able to access my own data. It is a queasy feeling. I am now much more sympathetic to clients who have concerns, and it gives me new incentive to provide an increased level of transparency for our customers' data. The problem is a few bad experiences like this, puts all data and application hosters on the defense.