Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lost in the foggy cloud

I normally find analysis by The Economist incisive and accurate, but one post by the Babbage columnist seems to be missing the point: he's suffered multiple outages from his 'cloud computing' service provider, including power failures in the 'uninterruptable' power supply.
  • Is he choosing a cheap provider with inadequate infrastructure?
  • Does he need to split his service across multiple providers to limit points of failure?
  • What's the commercial balance between fail-safe provision and the direct and indirect costs of fixing the occasional failure? Each business application has to balance risk and reward.
The promise of cloud computing is that the big insurance risks are met by the hosting provider and shared over a large base of users to limit the risks, and costs, for any one application. But pressure on margins at service providers means that the buyer has to beware in this service area as in all others.

Do you trust your service provider? How will you know until a problem occurs? Is it then too late? Should you carry out a controlled test now?!