Geminare Blog

Monday, Jul 19, 2010

The day the cloud went dark

When EMC decided to shut off its ATMOS Online product offering, it surprised many of us who work in the world of Cloud computing. (See July 04, 2010, EMC Suddenly Cedes the Clouds, Blog by Nicole Hemsoth) Personally, I respect EMC’s decision - competing with one’s business partners is always a delicate matter and often carries more risk than reward. I was, however, taken aback by its abruptness, and the way in which EMC communicated the end of ATMOS to its user base. The service was pulled from general availability, seemingly overnight.

I felt the impact of this decision first hand. I was prepping for an infrastructure control demo that just happened to be integrated with EMC’s ATMOS Online Compute offering. While logged into our control panel, I selected a hosted VM to control, and immediately received an error message. After a “bit” of digging the operations team informed me that when they logged directly into ATMOS they discovered that all our VM’s were gone. Deleted forever. We had been given some warning by EMC, so there was no critical data lost – nor were there any systems that we could not rebuild on another Cloud. It was merely an inconvenience. 

This experience did, however, make me wonder about what would undoubtedly be a real dilemma. 

What would happen if your Cloud provider went dark? 

Whether the “darkness” occurred accidentally or intentionally, my question begs another. What would happen to your business if your Cloud hosted solution suddenly became unavailable or worse yet, deleted and unrecoverable? The answer, whatever it is, won’t be a good one – especially if you rely on the Cloud to house your main production systems.

Nothing punishes a business more than unplanned system outages that lead to employees staring at their screens because email is down…or to massive delays in production lines…or to loss of revenue and revenue opportunity.

Still, fear of a Cloud Provider going dark isn’t going to change the massive migration to cloud services that is happening worldwide. Frankly, I believe that it will be soon become increasingly difficult for IT personnel to build a financial business case to support onsite systems. The ROI just won’t be there when compared to the economies of scale that can be leveraged with Cloud infrastructure.

But what about my question? What do you do if your Cloud Provider goes dark?

The answer might come from looking at what large enterprises often do with their outsourced network infrastructure – they build in redundancy. If one network service goes down, or even if its primary network provider’s network crashes, they often have another “on-demand” network that ensures their business continues to operate in the event of a network failure.

Cloud Services users should adopt a similar strategy to ensure that critical resources are available at all times, and they can do so from within the Cloud. Move to the Cloud with confidence by building continuous availability into your total solution, perhaps even creating a replicated environment that is enabled through a secondary Cloud provider (or through a second cloud infrastructure offered by your primary provider).

Follow this approach and you’ll always feel like a kid with a night-light...never again afraid of the dark.

22nd  - De-risking your DR
27th  - DRaaS becomes mainstream and looks to OpenStack and hybrid deployments for growth
5th  - Nobody Ever Got Fired For Buying … Based on Gartner Magic Quadrants
11th  - We welcome Google and the next evolutionary step in DRaaS
18th  - Microsoft Acquisition Signals Dawn of a New Era for RaaS
3rd  - RaaS, say hello to the Public Cloud
20th  - Recovery as a Service—Earning its Very Own Gartner Magic Quadrant in Only 4 Short Years
3rd  - The Disappearing Data Center
16th  - Lessons from the NFL – The RaaS Opportunity
13th  - The RaaS Secret Sauce: The Channel
23rd  - CA Throws Down The Gauntlet. Has the race for Cloud Data Protection supremacy already been won?
11th  - RaaS – from Evolution to Revolution
16th  - Storage Wars…starring every cloud services provider on the planet
11th  - HPC in the Cloud – Guest Blog: “Telecom Sector Embraces the Cloud”
3rd  - Today’s Forecast for the Telecom Sector: Clouds, Clouds and More Clouds
27th  - The CEO’s (Unused) Secret Weapon
31st  - The Race to Zero. My Cloud Prediction for 2011
30th  - When Brrr…becomes Grrrr!
24th  - Ten gifts from the Cloud this Holiday Season - with a money-back (ROI) guarantee.
7th  - The Tipping Point – or how the Cloud is about to go “main-stream”
20th  - Lessons from History…or how emerging technology can destroy a thriving business – if you let it.
14th  - Today’s Forecast: Lots of Cloud - With 90% probability of Enterprise Engagement
13th  - HPC in the Cloud – Guest Blog: “The Cloud Flattens Technology Landscape…Should Enterprise Worry?”
7th  - Cloud Invaders
25th  - Telcos embrace the Cloud. Next Stop – Mainstream
23rd  - The next-generation data center … aka The Cloud.
16th  - Navigating the Digital Haystack
3rd  - Get your head OUT of the cloud
28th  - HPC in the Cloud – Guest Blog: “Digital Breadcrumbs: Audit Trails in the Cloud”
19th  - The day the cloud went dark
12th  - Get your head INTO the cloud
27th  - HPC in the Cloud – Guest Blog: “What Recovery as a Service (RaaS) Means for Enterprise”
20th  - The Birth of RaaS or Recovery as a Service