HP's hosted storage service down for almost a week

Not only are there synchronization problems, the client software has security issues as well

Hewlett-Packard Co. said its new online storage service will protect your data "whether your hardware fails, your computer is lost or catastrophe strikes." But catastrophe appears to have struck HP instead. The company's Upline service, launched April 7, has been suspended for almost a week because of technical issues with one user's account.

HP is working to resolve the issue and the service could be back up this week, said Sheila Watson, an HP spokeswoman. The service's Web site appears to be online, but users are unable to purchase the service.

"HP chose to temporarily suspend the Upline service to investigate what we believe is an isolated technical issue. We anticipate that the Upline service will again be available to users this week," Watson said.

She declined comment on the number of users affected by the outage. Files on Upline, a hosted service to backup and store digital content, will remain intact, Watson said. HP launched the Upline service after its recent acquisition of Opelin, an online storage services firm.

HP notified users of the suspension originally last week and offered a full refund to U.S. users, Watson said. The service charges between $4.99 to $8.99 per month for unlimited online storage to home, family and professional users.

While happy with HP's refund decision, users reported problems in the client software to upload and synchronize files with the hosted service. Calling Upline a good idea that was horribly executed, blogger Derek Pegritz said the software disappeared randomly despite multiple installs. The software didn't even crash, it just disappeared, Pegritz wrote.

"Only $60 a year to back up literally all your data? That's serious value there ... but not if the software client you need to get your data up that Upline can't even stay afloat long enough to tally up a single folder's worth of Microsoft Word documents. Pathetic," Pegritz wrote.

In addition to being unable to synchronize gigabytes of data, the client software raised security concerns for one user.

"Upon checking I realized that the app had suddenly connected me to some other person's account," wrote "Ridz" in a comment on TechCrunch. "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," Ridz wrote.

The service meltdown in the early stages could be part of growing pains to evolve the service, one user wrote.

"I guess they had a few headaches ... as the service is relatively new. ... I am not surprised," wrote "Jon," in a comment on TechCrunch.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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