Service Assurance Via the Cloud, Part 1: Don’t Be a Joker


I understand Floyd’s aggravation with those tired arguments warning innocents against the so-called “cloud computing model.” As Floyd said after analyzing the FUD reactions to that Amazon EC2 outage:

Simply put, any public or private cloud or legacy infrastructure is going to go down…The key is to execute on a plan to maintain business continuity and minimize customer downtime. I don’t care if Amazon, Microsoft, or your internal IT organization hosts your services, you must have a plan in place to keep your business running.

Exactly. Thank you, Floyd, for putting it straight.

Come on, guys. If Amazon – for whatever reason – is the IT equivalent of The Joker, why would anyone use their services? Wouldn’t you scope out alternatives, cloud or no cloud, before trusting any portion of a business IT infrastructure with them?

You can scapegoat the cloud all you want, but doing so makes you come across as an idiot incapable of evaluating your business needs or, worse, a politician who mixes up Elvis’s birthday (and how un-American is that? But I digress…).

Recently, I asked John Sloan, lead analyst at London, Ontario research firm Info-Tech, what he thought of this ongoing cri de cloud, and he put it into perspective:

Cautions over service assurance and security tend to reflect back on an organization’s internal IT. If you’re going to say, ‘Well, we don’t know if this will be secure enough or provide the level of availability we need,’ that invariably asks the question of how secure or available your own services are.

But how do you figure out:

  1. The points of failure within your infrastructure;
  2. The “proper cloud instrumentation,” as Floyd put it, that will lead to incidents, as opposed to outages; and
  3. The level of service guarantees you need from your cloud provider, assuming you use one to address these worries?

Once you can answer the first question (check out Josh’s recents posts on the subject here and here for some thoughts about this), you’ll be able to address questions two and three. And in my next two posts, John will offer up some thoughts about approaching the latter two, none of which involve supervillains.

Image Credit:  Doktor Dumbom

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