back to article Just how solid is cloud storage in 2014

Searching the Reg' for "Cloud + Storage" mentions in 2013 gets you 44 pages of results. So let's take it as read that it's a hot topic. We're not bothering with private clouds here; they're enterprise IT re-branded, re-tooled and re-priced but they are still private enterprise IT resources. No, it's the public cloud, accessed …

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Perfection? No; probably never.

It's not difficult to point to cloud outages and failures. It's going to happen. The hardware routinely fails, and although there are some remarkable coping strategies (Amazon's S3 service claims 99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability, due to intra-centre and cross-data-centre redundant storage and retrieval), it's a fool who assumes their data and servers don't need a backup and failover strategy.

If you need just one server, cloud might very well not be for you, unless you're smart about backup. It's more useful to corporates who can commoditise their services into customised server images, and just spin up more servers (maybe in other data centres/availability zones) when things go pear-shaped. The use of edge caches and putting the whole infrastructure behind edge routers that can redirect to still-working centres allows service to continue unabated, in the face of large-scale failures.

Just please don't enter into cloud initiatives wearing rose-tinted specs. Things will fail. You do need to analyse and correct for each possible single point of failure, to maintain backups (ideally including at least one off-provider route), and to manage your cloud server and storage estate actively - so don't go thinking you can sack most of your BOFHs. You still need them; they'll be just as busy managing your virtual estate - but you can reduce your machine room CapEx to a tiny amount, and concentrate on pay-as-you-need OpEx.

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Wot 'e said

Well put Mr Green. I agree with that and would have written it

Our sales people are bringing in more new and existing upgrade customer for ERP in and getting me to do their infrastructure planning and I reckon 3 out of 4 this year are taking cloud and some even know what they are talking about (the customer not the sales person, naturally).

Reality is all is planned as hybrid, the amount I allow in the cloud depends on the nature of their business and how much data they churn.

But this stuff ain't going away.

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The cloud is a wonderful resource but when you use it please do remember that it's someone elses hardware and the chances of that someone else caring as much about your data is pretty much zero. Even private cloud service providers will operate like that, after all, unused capacity is a loss of money to them so please do your due diligence and make sure that when the cloud platform falls over you have your own backup/DR/Replicas ready to go.

On another note 'The UK's 2e2 cloud service collapsed in February with users asked to pay up to $40,000 extra to get their data back.' - anyone have a link for that?

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@Just a - "On another note 'The UK's 2e2 cloud service collapsed in February with users asked to pay up to $40,000 extra to get their data back.' - anyone have a link for that?"

Feb. 7, 2013

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2013/02/07/2e2_data_centre_calamity/

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Hot Topic

Searching the Reg' for "Cloud + Storage" mentions in 2013 gets you 44 pages of results. So let's take it as read that it's a hot topic.

Searching for Cloud + Storage anytime gets me 29 pages of results. Of the 20 articles on the first page, 10 are written by Chris Mellor. Hot indeed!

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Funny

Jassy, criticised private clouds for inadequacy, as a futile attempt by legacy IT vendors to build sand-bagged walls trying to hold back the rising tide of the public cloud.

Says the man offering his own, larger, offering.

JustAGeek said it best. Only YOU care about your data. The big players care about overall reliability, not specific customers. A smaller shop might sell you a private cloud solution and be able to provide you with far superior support in time of crisis. And it is fairly obvious that the big players, while having a variety of offerings, and lots of big infra, are woefully not ready for prime time. If your business, as one of my former employers was, is riding on the AWS and it goes down (like it did last year), your sites are down. Period. That is NOT good for business no matter how you spin it.

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Relibility and Lock-in

The outages throughout the year might have been rare, but left a feeling of vulnerability to the AGA cloud giants. It is good to have a backup of the data in the cloud, whether it be on another cloud (like DejaSync) or locally (like SyncDocs)

I'm slightly suspicious of all the free consumer apps like SkyDrive or Dropbox. Once these companies have your data they have you locked in, and are unlikely to change when they start charging.

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Cloud suppliers are just another single point of failure...

You'd be mad to rely on any single cloud supplier for mission critical data. It is, after all, a single point of failure no matter what the quality of their operations or finances. Also, if a cloud supplier has technical problems, then they are not necessarily going to prioritise recovering your data, if they can do it at all.

Of course there's an even bigger structural issue. If a single cloud supplier fails, it could bring down the operations of many companies and could cripple entire industries.

It's a fundamental principle of data management to provide protection at multiple, independent levels. Using a cloud storage provider is no different.

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