PHOTO:All Rights, Microsoft Corporation
During the Holiday period at the end of 2012, we saw yet another major Cloud failure. The news came out that Netflix, crashed, or at least was performing very strangely. We now know that it was not Netflix, but rather it was Amazon Web Services (AWS) that had the problem when one of its tools acted up. Netflix, like many other firms, outsources most of its network storage to AWS. What didn't make the news, was how wide-spread the problem was.
AWS hosts the data of a great many firms. AWS did not release information on how many firms were affected, but the number is in the hundreds, possibly thousands. For firms that do not provide high speed streaming services, it may have been much less of an issue. However, it does further demonstrate how the move to the Cloud... and make no mistake, Corporate America is moving to the Cloud... there are missed benefits.
Compare it to cell phone services. In the 60s, a phone was: big, black, plugged into the wall and incredibly reliable (even during a blackout). Today, a smart phone provides you with a massively capable device that has the features of a computer, entertainment center, camera, home entertainment systems, video camera, an answering machine and still provides the features of a very advanced phone. However, we also use our phones to wander around and say, "What? What did you say? Can you hear me? Helloooo... are you still there?"
Outsourcing to the Cloud has many advantages over building data and storage systems in-house. Many smaller users could not create and maintain an equivalent in-house service. However, the Cloud can do odd things, going from rock solid to amazingly buggy, overnight. Like the cell phone, the benefits of outsourcing to the Cloud are so significant that we may just need to learn to get along with the problems. Hey, are you still there? Can you hear me?