Bringing down the cloud: HP's Upline down for a third of its life

HP Upline hosted storage has been suspended for five days (and counting) allegedly due to some potentially disastrous bugs. Already, competing services are attempting to cash in.

The service from Hewlett-Packard offering unlimited online storage of user data was launched only 15 days ago, and has been out of commission for just over a third of that time.

Upline's Web interface was the first to go, then service backups, until only live phone support was available. Users were notified via e-mail of the service's suspension ("suspension...will be temporary and short in duration") and then were offered a refund while keeping their subscription in effect, for what it's worth. Non-US residents were offered no such refund.

HP has not officially cited the reason for the service's suspension, but in a comment to TechCrunch last Friday, member Ridz may have proven to have experienced Upline's fatal flaw: His application was connecting him to another member's account.

"I'd decided to get the personal account and marked out 27 GBs worth of data to sync. After several days of upload(amounting to 7GB), I noticed the progress bar go right back to 0%." That's when Ridz noticed he was suddenly on someone else's account; he could watch the sign-in take place automatically, but he couldn't stop it.

Reinstalling the desktop client software resulted in Ridz' 7 GB of information showing up on one register, but when he attempted to re-sync, that 7 became a 0 again. Now, HP's online assistants are just as incapable of logging onto Ridz' space in the "cloud" as he is.

"I'm just wondering if anyone else got logged into my account and if my data could have somehow ended up in someone else's account (which would be disastrous)," he wrote. He says he has since switched to a different service.

Today, in an obvious attempt to capitalize on the disgust from Upline's early adopters, a Sponsored Link on a Google search of "HP Upline" yields a site with the tag line "Is Upline jerking you around?" linking to a company called Mozy offering a similar service.

Perhaps with the early failings of HP's well-known brand name, users will be ready to use services from lesser-known, but more specialized online backup companies such as these.

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