Not all peaches and cream with cloud computing

September 5, 2014

As the world moves towards cloud computing for many different reasons, while the platform has multiple strengths there have been outages that have caused some problems for companies. InfoWorld's J. Raphael, writing for Network World, said cloud outages, while not a frequent phenomenon, do happen and receive lots of attention when they do. Raphael detailed the worst cloud outages of the past year and the damage incurred by them.

Multiple outages at several companies
Dropbox and Google both kicked-off the new year by experiencing cloud outages. The initial DropBox outage was attributed by company executives to be of their own making. The first outage lasted for a couple of days. The second one, in March, only went for about an hour. Officials at the company were uncharacteristically mum after that incident. Google's first outage lasted about an hour, also and was blamed on a software problem and their second outage, on St. Patty's Day nonetheless, lasted several hours and was blamed on a software glitch, according to Raphael's report.

Cloud risks mean altered behavior and protocols
While the previously listed outages were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, savvy managers know that there are steps they can take to protect their assets and data should the cloud go away. InfoWorld posted some tips as to what companies can do to thwart any potential outages and be prepared for what to do when the inevitable occurs. When Amazon's new cloud service suffered an outage back in April, Nick Francis had just merged his business with their cloud service. Francis told InfoWorld he was shocked at the news.

"We were pretty blown away," said Francis, of startup company, Help Scout.  "We definitely weren't prepared." Neither were much larger companies like Foursquare and Reddit both of which were impacted by the outage.

An equally surprising and restricting outage scenario hit Intuit last year, with two outages occurring to the company's cloud service including one in June that kept them down for 36 hours. The company blamed a power failure that knocked them off the grid. In an unusual repeat of the situation the company's cloud service again lost power just a few weeks later. That outage sparked outrage and obscenity-laden missives on social media from upset customers but did little other damage. It did beg the question, though, as to why Intuit doesn't have an uninterruptable power supply, a question no one from the company has answered to date.

Cloud computing is the way of the future but, as always with anything new problems do arise. Cloud users should be aware that there could be issues and plan for them accordingly, suggested Raphael.