Digital storage technology has a reputation for being permanent. Where a lot of analogue technologies like microfilm and magnetic videotape lose fidelity with every copy and degrade (leading to the characteristic ‘ghosting’ effect of old VHS tapes), information stored as ones and zeroes is theoretically reproducible and transmissible with perfect clarity.
Moreover, the price of computer storage has plummeted throughout the history of the computer era.
But the advent of the cloud also removed the final frontier to our perception of infinite storage: cost. Today paying for data storage isn’t our direct concern.
The physical storage is a negligible proportion of the price of software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) tools, so we’re more tempted than ever to just keep everything – and disinclined to put formal migration or retention policies in place.
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