So perhaps one way of looking at cloud services is they entail putting many, many eggs into a single, very, very large basket.

From a risk engineering perspective, one might wonder if a single, very, very large basket is safer than many smaller baskets. 

Recent experience with Gmail suggests perhaps not.


Fred Grevin
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Please excuse the brevity of notes sent from my Blackberry

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Medina [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 05:33 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [RM] RAINdrip: Amazon Cloud goes down

On Thu, 21 Apr 2011  Jesse Wilkins <[log in to unmask]> chimed in with:

>More offsite storage, dear?
>No thanks, think I'll remain in charge and control of my own data by
keeping my 250,000 boxes onsite and paying for the people to manage them.

Apples and oranges, Amazon and other cloud providers aren't managing boxes
last I checked- however the service provider that DOES just made the
decision to trash it's offering of cloud services... coincidence? I don't
think so.  

Information is an ASSET... of course you pay people to manage it.  And if
you've done it in the past, you already have the infrastructure in place, so
you incur more expenses if you elect to shift to a 3rd party service
provider until you can abandon your existing services, re-purpose or delete
your staff and sell your used equipment at a loss.

>More onsite storage, dear?
>Yes, please, I much prefer complexity associated with managing my own
storage, my own applications, my own provisioning, my own backups and
restores, my own security, and adding IT staff and their salary and benefits
to my organization.

Sure this could be the case for a start-up, but not for in-force businesses.
They will obviously have to continue funding their operations, and if they
fail to achieve any efficiencies of operation, they will incur incremental
cost increases.  That said, many organizations are developing information
governance approaches to increase efficiencies and actually reducing costs.

The issue for many isn't 'complexity and cost' it's protection of assets and
control over access.  Will they potentially have failures and incidents?
Sure, but it's up to them to determine what level of effort and cost they
will require to address the problem...they aren't at the mercy of a 3rd party.

>I get that Amazon is experiencing a major service problem and that it is
affecting numerous of their customers. I just don't see a) how this is any
different from what you would encounter with either physical offsite storage
(weather? Fires? Earthquakes?) or b) why this still won't be resolved much
faster than most organizations' IT could do on their own. I've gotta believe
that this is a seriously specific and difficult problem or it'd already have
been addressed - in other words, I don't think Amazon has skimped on their
IT and their training the way so many other organizations do. But to tar all
of cloud because of this one outage is I think seriously short-sighted and
that's how I read Larry's post.

I don't think anyone can say that it WON'T be resolved faster by an
organization independently or by a 3rd party service provider, but in the
current incident, 12+ hours later, the issue is yet to be resolved.  

One interesting comment (in another article) was that Amazon said they were
unable to comment on why it will take a certain amount of time to resolve an
outage until they have forensically determined what caused it in the first
place.  This makes perfect sense, but doesn't help organizations who can't
(or whose clients can') utilize their services or access their content. 
These organizations have SLAs, an they have an expectation of 99.X% uptime-
maybe even following an event like this that is achieved (based on total
hours of service multiplied by number of clients equally total service
hours?) but it doesn't help while the outage is ongoing.

Tar all of the cloud? Nope... I think my comments and the link I provided
were directed at THIS outage and THIS provider.  However, the "All Things
Digital" article above did say:

"A failure in the cloud is of course one of the fundamental problems that
its critics always point to. Yes, you can save money and time and effort by
farming your IT services and infrastructure out to someone else. But when
those services crash unexpectedly, you–and scores of others that rely on the
same infrastructure–are left to wonder what’s going on and when it’s going
to be fixed."

Short-sighted?  Maybe someone who has worked for multiple organizations and
had direct responsibility for managing their information assets as part of
their responsibilities could adequately comment on this... but without that
perspective, criticizing another who has seems short-sighted.

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