Monday, March 28, 2011

Experience with Cloud Computing after earthquake in Japan

While the Email and Web servers of local governments in the effected areas of Japan went down last month, government staff utilised Social Media technologies on the cloud, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google, to communicate with Japanese citizens.

The resiliency and the effectiveness of these Cloud providers in sustaining and enabling collaboration has been pretty impressive in enabling communications in very difficult circumstances and has done a lot to boost peoples positive view of Cloud services.  Whether it is Japanese Government officials using Twitter from their mobiles, or Libyans using dial up Modems to access Facebook. 

Lately I have read a number of comments suggesting that it is the resiliency of the Cloud that has been the facilitator, it hasn't it is the underlying architecture of the Internet.

Internet is Internet; a global IP based network, resilient self healing and designed to survive a global nuclear war.  On top of which IP has had over 45 years of open development through groups like the IETF.

Cloud however is a philosophy of moving services to a more cost effective shared infrastructure where you gain the advantages economies of scale available there.  At the moment what most people talk about as Cloud are a series of commercial services accessible over the Internet, developed to varying levels of resilience and vulnerable to influences such as the financial failure of the provider, the law, change in corporate direction; EMC briefly switched off their Atmos storage cloud service last year, before reopening it again almost immediately.  

Whilst it is true that Twitter/Facebook etc are well managed, backed up, accessible and generally robust . We are a long way from the reality of bespoke Cloud delivered services for business that cannot be disrupted, switched off or simply become inaccessible.

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