Things come and go in the IT world – anyone who’s worked in the industry knows that what is new today will be old tomorrow, and a week from now everyone will wonder why you ever used it. Cloud technology is the new “in” thing, a model of using services, storage, and infrastructure that is supposed to allow businesses to do everything they want, whenever and wherever they want. All it takes, or so claim the advertisements, is the right provider.
And that’s the crux of the matter. No cloud service can exist without a provider, but what if a provider dries up? What if they go under, shutting down their services without so much as a word of warning, leaving a company with no way to get its data? What does a company do if their cloud goes away?
Users got a brief taste of what it would feel like when Amazon’s AWS went down, and the company responded with slow communiqués about internal issues they were having, rather than giving customers what they really wanted – information. The problem was resolved within a few days, but left many wondering what would happen “the next time” the service went out.
Or take a look at Slicehost, a public cloud option from Rackspace. Recently, Rackspace announced it would be shutting down Slicehost and migrating accounts to Rackspace. Businesses were concerned about IP address loss or external service problems, and Rackspace did little but send terse emails.
The fact is that any company who has data on the cloud is in danger of losing it, and while cloud services are gaining a reputation for stability and service, it pays to know the strength of the provider.