Data Storage Issues: Cloud Computing Fails Again

By Henry Newman

Editor’s note: As more and more companies look to the cloud for data storage, big questions remain about reliability and uptime. Storage pundit Henry Newman wonders if the cloud is truly ready for enterprise use.  

Today I woke up to find that Microsoft’s 365 has some issues for users worldwide, but not me as I'm not using 365.  It seems like it’s case of “another day, another high reliability cloud down.”

Clearly, vendors either have very poor test procedures and plans or they do not have an adequate test environment.  This is not a surprise to me, given the size of installations, the complexity of the configuration and the cost of maintain a test environment. 

This might be a reason to not go to the cloud.  I have not seen that testing procedures and infrastructure listed as a reason to not deploy to the cloud, but the more I think about it, it makes sense to me that it should be a factor.  So what do Microsoft, Google, Amazon and the other providers have for systems, configuration and workload generation that will give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about the cloud? What will they do in the future (because we all know that in the past all of them have gone down) to provide a robust test environment that will thoroughly test each of the providers cloud implementations? 

Maybe the vendors should work this into a marketing campaign. They could have a global cloud testing “arms race.” Amazon, for instance, could say something like “We have 4,000 servers, high speed networks and 5 PB of storage dedicated to testing.” Then – still hypothetically – the next week Google puts out an add that says “We have 5,000 servers, multiple high speed networks and 10 PB of storage dedicated to testing.” You get the picture.  

It is now clear to me that testing environment, procedures, and resources should be a good part of the evaluations of any cloud provider, but I do not see testing as one of the advertised could features.   All the hype is about availability and applications. But you do not get high availability without testing and clearly all of the vendors have issues.  Maybe it is time vendors re-think things.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on November 15, 2013