What can you do to avoid the next cloud failure?

Companies investing in cloud-based solutions should do so very carefully, like any other technology or business decision. In an era where not all cloud solutions are made for the long-haul; there needs to be some clear insight on what is a good decision today and into the future. We’ve seen two key cloud failures recently in the form of services ceasing. The first happened last year when cloud storage provider Nirvanix filed for bankruptcy and the other recent example is Symantec Backup Exec.cloud shutting down. Aside from offerings being closed down, we’ve also see outages of cloud-based solutions that can impact applications or content delivery.

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The reality is that cloud-based solutions may not make it, it’s a very diverse offering of services for companies to choose from today and the benefits of cloud-based solutions don’t always apply to all organizations. It is also a natural conclusion to plan for some form of outage. This applies to traditional hardware and software products as well, so the decision process isn’t new; it however needs different handling.

So, what can you do to avoid the next cloud failure? It starts with full examination. Companies can latch on the business benefits that a cloud-based solution brings, but part of the admission process should include a plan for evacuation. To put it another way, the cloud has infrastructure too. Things can go wrong, and it needs to be managed and protected. This applies both to the providers of a cloud-based solution, but also as a fiduciary responsibility to those who subscribe to it. Taking this key approach to going into a cloud-based solution will make a material difference on what needs to happen, should a cloud failure occur.

I advise companies to take the following points in to a cloud-based solution investment:

  • Ensure portability to another cloud, or back on-premise
  • Design the specification of the cloud-based solution to be ready for another public cloud, even if you have chosen another public cloud
  • Give extra consideration to application dependencies on a particular cloud

Do you see any risk of more cloud failures? I’m sure we’ll see them, but none have been very impactful thus far. Share your predictions in this interesting category below.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Greg on January 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Good points Rick. One of the reasons we still hesitate to move one of our apps to the cloud is the lack of a way to export it back to internal, if needed.

    Reply

  2. Greg – yeah, thats a real challenge. My advice is to either be OK with it going away, or build in portability.

    Reply

  3. Thanks for sharing Rick. You’re right with some aspects you highlight here. Cloud hosting isn’t for every organisation and it’s important you find the right solution for your company. Cloud computing is advancing everyday and there are always more innovative and effective solutions being produced. Watch this space!

    Reply

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