Nearly every week, news articles crop up shouting about someone's cloud data or application temporarily -- or in some rare instances, permanently -- disappearing. Name a vendor and they've probably been in the news. "Ack!" and "Not ready for prime time!" go the headlines. Cloud computing may be the future, but it isn't ready for the enterprise.
Or is it?
For every big news story making the headlines about cloud data availability issues, I bet there are thousands more incidents of data loss on noncloud systems. Yes, I know that there are hundreds of thousands times more noncloud systems (or whatever the ratio is), but think about how many people you know who have lost everything on their computers because they didn't have a recent backup. How many companies have you worked at that thought they were getting good data backups -- but weren't? How many companies have lost data, then had a hard time recovering it, only to mess up a second time with seemingly no lesson learned?
We all know those companies. Heck, how many of people reading this article have perfect backups of our own data? Be honest.
Because cloud vendors are charged with supporting large amounts of data and multiple customers, by their very nature, they have to have their data protection policies and procedures down to a science. If a server goes down, they must have a hundred like it ready to take over in an instant. They require redundant Internet access, power supplies, air-handling systems, and so on. They need to have a handle on round-robin patching, fluid virtual machines, performance metrics, event-log monitoring, alerting, and every other aspect of systems management that most companies hope to optimize one day. It's imperative that cloud vendors understand those topics from day one.
Your company may have some 24/7 applications, maybe even a few 24/7 datacenters, but in the cloud vendor world, every aspect of their environment is 24/7. It isn't the exception -- it's the only rule.
This doesn't mean cloud vendors are perfect. Obviously the popular headlines and their legal contracts say they aren't. But I'll postulate that cloud data and application reliability already beats the reliability experience of most companies and people today.