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A Fragile Cloud?

“What we do know though is that, even as we use the Internet more and more for our daily work, the fragility of its fundamental infrastructure is becoming ever more painfully clear.” (Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols)

I couldn’t have said it better myself although I wish I had. Vaughan-Nichols was commenting on Microsoft Online’s latest blackout due to a DNS problem. My takeaway is to think twice before entrusting production data and applications to the Web, i.e. “cloud.”

Look, I’m not suggesting that local networks are perfect. Data gets corrupted, the wrong command downs a system, network applications fail. These things happen -- but they don’t happen often on a reasonably well-managed LAN. The cloud is different. It is built on a fundamentally fragile hodgepodge of servers, storage, networks, telecommunications, and software that spans the globe.

I’m not saying don’t use the cloud; do use it by all means. It is an excellent medium for backup and archive storage, analysis, and eDiscovery. And it can be the only affordable medium for startups like digital delivery vendors. There are ways to run cloud-based applications and to host production data in highly secure and redundant Web-based data centers. They’re more expensive than the big commercial hosting sites but you really do get what you pay for. Because on a personal basis it’s really not a big deal if a family can’t get to its shared Google Calendar for a few hours. But when you have an enterprise up and running on Google Apps or Microsoft Online or Amazon S3 then downtime creates a serious problem.

There is a reason that the Big Guys don’t want to issue good service level agreements for cloud-based apps. They can’t keep them.

  • Premiered: 09/09/11
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Cloud eDiscovery Microsoft Online Google Apps Amazon S3


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