On Saturday, April 22nd, Steve Lohr from the NY Times wrote a column titled, “Amazon’s Trouble Raises Cloud Computing Doubts“. The article asserts that outages with Amazon’s cloud computing services will likely force many companies to rethink their strategy to rely upon outside vendors for their compute and storage services.
The article includes some comments from an IDC analyst who suggests that due to this outage, companies must now have a “conversation” about what they keep inside the four walls and what they place outside ‘in the cloud’ – as though systems managed inside a company are somehow safe or safer. Ridiculous. Companies with internally-managed infrastructure have outages every day. It’s the strategy they’ve put in place to handle these outages that matters.
Just as companies today weigh the cost of investing in disaster recovery for their internal systems, companies that rely upon cloud computing vendors need to perform a similar assessment. I would assert that the “conversation” suggested in the article should really have been targeted at whether or not you need disaster recovery services and how much you are willing to pay your PaaS/IaaS vendor to supply them.
Disaster recovery services are available ‘in the cloud’ – as the article points out that Netflix has availed itself of - but these services aren’t automatically included and cost more. The companies that experienced outages when a portion of Amazon’s cloud infrastructure went down chose not to pay for disaster recovery services and they got exactly what they paid for.
I would suggest that a more accurate headline for the article should have been something like, ”Lack of a Strategy for Your Cloud Computing Services is a Disaster Waiting to Happen”. Unfortunately, this boring title wouldn’t be nearly as sensational and wouldn’t sell papers…or online subscriptions…and it’s probably one of the reasons why I’m not a journalist.