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Kindergarten, IT, Navigating “the Cloud,” and Candy

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InfoWorld published a great article highlighting the “The 10 worst cloud outages (and what we can learn from them) .”

Reading the article, I’m reminder of the book, All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. I am sure there is a version designed just for IT and the technology industry, but I haven’t found it. Maybe this will be the start of a lucrative e-book enterprise.

Or not.

Lesson 1 – Technology is never perfect.

Nor were your toys. Remember the cars that would fly off the track of your race car set when they went too fast?

Like everything else in IT, “the Cloud” is inherently imperfect. We expect cloud computing platforms to work flawlessly and never go down. Ironically, while we all would acknowledge that the complexities involved in a public cloud computing solution are much greater than those in a traditional dedicated solution, we expect flawless reliability from that cloud platform. Cloud computing is based on much of the same standardized hardware, network and infrastructure components that companies use in their data center environments complemented by evolving software to support multitenant environments. These systems can and will fail which represents their inherent imperfection.

The good news? The technology industry is full of examples of learning from mistakes to make better products and services more quickly than ever. Cloud computing will be no exception.

Lesson 2 – Two is always better than one.

Remember Doublemint® gum where there were always two of everything? Just like gum or candy, it’s always better when you have more.

Redundancy will save the day. Just like how you build in redundant elements into your technology and network infrastructure, cloud providers will continue to build redundancy into theirs. Cloud computing’s perception, value and adoption will rise the closer providers are able to achieve “perfect redundancy.” Perfect redundancy addresses all single point of failures that can arise from hardware, software, network and human errors. The perception of “flawless” cloud computing will be driven by the providers ability to attain near perfect redundancy across the elements cited earlier.

Lesson 3 – Always have a backup plan.

As a kid, having a backup plan was usually about being sneaky. In IT, it’s about being smart.

Cloud computing should simply be considered as a flexible platform option for how your applications are delivered. It doesn’t change who is ultimately responsible for supporting the business.
Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans are no less critical when deploying applications in a cloud environment. The businesses that weathered the outages discussed in the article were those that had plans to address this eventuality.

Lesson 4 – When all else fails, don’t lose the data!

Ever lose a $20.00 bill as a kid? You get the same feeling when you lose data.

Data protection and redundancy go hand in hand. Redundancy isn’t just about applications placed in the cloud computing arena but also for the data these applications generate. Businesses must still deploy a multi-layered data protection regimen to reduce the risk of loss. Cloud storage can be a compelling aspect of this regimen in addition to a combination of on-premise storage mediums such as SAN, NAS, and tape systems.

Conclusion

As a cloud computing provider, we’re learning and evolving too. Vendors are learning to create systems and processes that will meet the reliability that businesses really need and businesses are learning to once again rely on their proven smart approaches that achieve their application needs while protecting their exposure from any single point of failure. The intersection of both paths will certainly yield the true vision and promise of cloud computing.

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