back to article Ask the Sysadmins: What has the cloud ever done for me?

You have heard all the hype about the cloud, you have listened to the debates. But what does it mean for you and your organisation? Ask Trevor Pott and the sysadmins anything about the cloud. Discuss the issues and the technologies with your peers. Is cloud right for everyone? How do you get it right? When do you say no to …


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done nothing but cause problems

The marketing hype behind cloud is pretty good, because it's somehow got most non technical idiots convinced it can save them everything. I was talking to one such idiot recently who was interviewing to be my new boss(I'd be shocked if he got the job), I had to physically hold myself from bursting out into laughter on several of his comments/responses about "cloud".

But more seriously, the Amazon cloud had been BY FAR the biggest fail I've ever seen, BY FAR the biggest frustration in my professional career, nothing else is even in the same galaxy cluster as this thing. Other clouds are similar from a cost perspective at least (as in cost is so bad it's a "face wall" moment). Companies spending literally a quarter million to half million or more in cloud fees PER MONTH are quite common in my experience. Spend a day learning what such companies do and you can quickly realize how much waste is going on.

But the waste itself is not a problem in itself - the problem is the quality that these cloud services provide is universally very poor. I would feel differently if the quality was really high, but I've yet to see(or hear) of a provider where the quality was really good(regardless of cost - I have been told stories of even the most expensive cloud players out there having terrible service/performance/etc).

I talk to folks fairly regularly these days now about them either 1) wanting to move out of a public cloud 2) are moving out or 3) already have moved out. Yet these *rarely* make the news, it's always the inverse.

My two most absurd reasons for using cloud that I have heard of in the past year:

"I don't want to have to deal with servers, or vendors" - from a company spending $600,000/mo in a cloud (not Amazon). They understand they can build their own stuff for around $2.5M - but it doesn't matter. The shitty cloud they use(they have quite a few outages) is what the management likes.

"I think(hope) we can attract (more) investors if we are in a cloud" - from a sinking company who wants to move to Amazon, they acknowledge/understand that public cloud will cost them minimum 3-5x what they are paying now. Yet they hope that is offset by additional investment from VC(s).

Top reasons for moving out of a public cloud:

- Unpredictable performance

- Bad/non existent support

- Cost

- Availability/reliability

I know one company that gets in excess of 80% off list pricing for a major public cloud and even with that pricing they still want to get out ASAP as they've had endless technical problems using the public cloud, some of which cause more than a day of lost productivity for each glitch.

For me the technical(and business) reasons go FAR FAR BEYOND the above top reasons, but the marketing has been so successfully drilled into these clueless management types that it's like trench warfare getting them to understand that cloud is bullshit.

Fortunately for my own sanity I have not had to deal with public cloud shit in well over a year now. The ~3 years I had working with amazon gave me PTSD, I start twitching when I hear that word.


With this firefox plugin I can now have a more positive experience when reading about cloud. This article for example comes across as

"Ask the Sysadmins: What has my butt ever done for me?"

one word: awesome (said in the voice of Cartman)

Anonymous Coward

Quite right!!!

"The marketing hype behind cloud is pretty good, because it's somehow got most non technical idiots convinced it can save them everything."

OMG, I was just going to make a comment almost exactly along those lines!

My boss has practically no technical background yet constantly tells me what to do in regards to the admin of the tech I am responsible for (very small company, so boss knows all, right?) He recommended a cloud backup providers to another small business owner (in front of me), yet harasses me whenever he sees me running in-house backups, ESPECIALLY when I run the backup to a portable device that I take home with me for added security from disasters.

Yes, you heard that right. Go for the cloud...but why are you wasting you time doing backups??!!

Someone save me.

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The reason why people are outsourcing (what this article and the above comments are actually about) is because of geeks who are hard to work with. Many companies I speak to prefer the uptime record of Azure to having whiney geeks in their building who hold up projects.

Of course the reason I had to clarify that this is about outsourcing is because most of the geeks writing and reading the register have no idea what a cloud is. It's perfectly possible to have a cloud strategy with no outsourcing. It's perfectly possible to have a cloud strategy without having equipment outside your building. NIST have written and published a very clear definition of cloud which the main vendors adhere to. If a few more people read this (I'm looking at you Reg hacks) then there would be a lot more understanding instead of BS around cloud technology.

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"geeks who are hard to work with"

No, geeks are NOT hard to work with.

Management IS hard to work with when it comes to technical stuff, because they have absolutely zero clue how the system works, and refuse to even try to understand reality.

Define "cloud". Then define "cloud computing". Face it, folks, in the bottom-line "the cloud" is simply a marketing gimmick that computer illiterate MBAs have bought into.

Typing as a geek who is called in to fix management disasters on a regular basis ...

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Re: "geeks who are hard to work with"

You mean typing as a geek who failed to implement what management wanted and then had to bodge something to save face. The problem is that most geeks have zero clue how a business works, and the vast majority think that lowering cost is always a good thing which often leads to underspeccing a solution which leads to failure when spending a little more would have given enormous business value.

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