Moving data to the cloud? Read this first

Protecting cloud-based infrastructure from downtime and data loss requires new skills and new approaches

Today's systems have become so complex, most IT practitioners expect failure. Everything fails, and we invest the time, energy, and capital to build backups, warm sites, and all manner of redundancy so that we can stand things back up when they inevitably stumble.

Cloud-based infrastructure services have taken the lessons learned about data protection and stood them on their head. Suddenly, instead of building a comprehensive, on-premise data protection mechanism, we're tossing our data in the cloud, where the only thing we really have to show for it is a fancy SLA that says our cloud provider probably won't lose our data. It's not exactly awe-inspiring.

You only need to look at the fairly well-publicized Amazon Web Services failure from a few months ago to see the result. The AWS forums were packed full of livid EC2/EBS users who had experienced extended downtime or even lost data during the outage. Does this mean that the cloud (AWS or otherwise) is an unreliable piece of junk we should all avoid? Of course not.

What it does mean is that we have a lot to learn as we bridge the experience gap between on-premise boxes made of sheet metal and seemingly locationless services objects floating in the free space of the cloud.

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