Making the cloud reliable

Like “Web 2.0”, the term “Cloud computing” is one that nobody much likes, but is hard to avoid. Argue all you like; but there are real and significant changes, and we need to call it something.

I wrote a piece in today’s Guardian which looks at some of the issues. Tony Lucas at Flexiscale, a cloud computing provider, makes the point that “occasional large outages are actually more likely than small ones”. His words were prophetic; I spoke to him shortly before Flexiscale itself went offline for two days. That’s unacceptable for anything business-critical; there has to be a plan B. SLAs by the way are not the answer; they promise some level of compensation in the event of failure, but this is typically miniscule in comparison to the business consequences.

Virtualization could be the answer. If your virtual servers at one provider go offline, just bring them up with another provider. That implies interoperability; and if this interests you, note that Amazon’s Jeff Barr is speaking on this subject with Lucas at the Future of Web Apps conference in London next month. Another development is VMware’s vCloud, which promises to “federate between on-premise and off-premise clouds” with its vServices. VMware is also a big supporter of the Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF), a format for portable virtual machines. If the reliability problem is solved, it will remove a key barrier to adoption of this kind of on-demand computing.

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Related posts:

  1. Making sense of Microsoft’s Cloud OS
  2. Disappearing cloud APIs: a new legacy software problem in the making
  3. Amazon fails to address interoperability concerns; Flexiscale plans cloud platform
  4. Defining cloud computing
  5. Cloud Computing survey: more fog than cloud

4 comments to Making the cloud reliable

  • Clyde Davies

    To me, the big issue is security: would you trust highly confidential business information to a remotely-sited third party? I wouldn’t.

  • tim

    To me, the big issue is security: would you trust highly confidential business information to a remotely-sited third party? I wouldn’t.

    Definitely a big issue. Encryption? How much safer is it on-premise, how do you quantify the difference?

    Tim

  • Clyde Davies

    And, at what is the tipping point at which, in increasingly making the the cloud more secure,
    it becomes easier and cheaper to host internally?

    There is a white paper in there for someone…

  • I think security is always the issue for most of us. But like you already said Tim, local “on premise” security isn’t necessarily more safe anyway.

    It is hard to know unless we are well versed in the field of security in technology anyway.