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June 12, 2011

Cloud Schadenfreude

By now it's been over a month since Amazon AWS East went down, hard, for five days and pulled the shine off of the cloud hype. Now that I'm not working again, I have time to comment on the stupidity.

Amazon was probably the top cloud provider, and it was very obvious that some companies bet their business, in entirety, on Amazon being up all the time.

That's dumb. Five days hard outage, nobody home at their url, data lost, and all because many of these companies did not have any redundancy, fail-over or back-up provider. The miracle of "The Cloud" would provide everything they needed - including a kick in the teeth.

Several people didn't go down, as cited this Computer World article because they had good disaster recovery plans.

Heck, this CW blog by Sharon Machlis put even more of a point on it:

But here are two lessons I'd take away from last week's outage. Moving to the cloud doesn't eliminate the need for skilled IT professionals to architect your application properly. And if you don't follow your provider's advice, expect to get burned.

Which is kind of the point: "The Cloud" is just a fancy-schmancy way of saying 'virtualized hosting in a pretty wrapper' which charges a premium for the name. If you want a fault tolerant operation, you need to set it up to allow for Murphy's law, not expect the Cloud fairies to magically make it happen. You need to do your own disaster planning, and even consider that your cloud provider may not be perfect!

Cloud computing means that someone else pays for the space, hardware, fiber, and power, throws a glossy management interface on it, then rents it to you at a premium. If your business is at a place on its growth curve where this makes sense (rent vs capital plus operations cost), fine. But don't get suckered by the salesguy's hype, and figure that "The Cloud" will spare you the need for good IT people and good planning. It won't.

Just like outsourcing being seen as the "magic bullet" to profits (it isn't), 'The Cloud' is seen as a panacea for all infrastructure requirements. It isn't either. It's just another form of hosting, and you still have to plan for redundancy and failures.


(Disclosure: I'm a smaaall stockholder in Amazon. This didn't help my share price, IMO.)

Posted by ljl at June 12, 2011 4:42 PM


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