When the Cloud Falls

The concept of the Cloud revolves around the ability to access information from anywhere at any time.  Millions of users uploading and downloading their data from a centralized set of severs.  No longer do IT resources have to spread out, but centralized.  Just as the many feudal lords were replaced by absolute monarchs, so have many servers been replaced by the few.  Sounds greats, costs are reduced and efficiency is increased—until something fails.  That’s what happened to Amazon’s EC2.  Businesses like Netflix and Pinterest went down with them.  The outage only lasted about 24 hours.  However, the outrage seemed to last a little longer.

It brings up and interesting question: Are we overly dependent on cloud services.  A lot of companies like using cloud hosting services.  They allow businesses to focus on providing goods and services rather than backing up their data or looking for more storage space for their files.  But is that the best practice?  When they first came out, cloud servers were more of a back-up than a primary means of data storage.  Now it’s the reverse.  But how can you have a hybrid system?  Perhaps having just enough data stored on site to function in case of a cloud server crash would be enough.  However, that doesn’t cover businesses like Netflix in which every file is needed.  If a user goes looking for a particular movie that’s listed in the database, but can’t access it, than you have a dissatisfied customer.  Should they only have blockbusters and big releases on hand?  What about everyone else?

What about your business?  Backing up files is considered a good practice.  How to, how much, and when is a more gray area.  In the end, even with this recent crash, the amount of uptime that Amazon’s EC2 has is impressive.  Reputable cloud storage companies are secure and reliable.