@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Storms in the Cloud

No technology negates the need for proper planning and the cloud is no different

There are things we tend to take for granted in our everyday lives. We have certain expectations that don't even have to be spoken, they're just a given. If you walk into a room and turn on the light switch, the lights will go on, it's assumed. If you turn the water faucet on, water will come out; if you pick up the telephone, there will be a dial tone. The concept of any of those things not happening does not enter the conversation. These are services we have that are ubiquitous; we don't even think about them - they are just there.

In recent years people have seen the impact Mother Nature has had on those core services such as electricity, water and phone, Storms, hurricanes, floods and blizzards have taken our expectations of these services and turned them on their head.

Cloud Computing, the New Light Switch
Cloud computing has become pervasive in both our personal and business lives; you cannot have a conversation about technology without the word "cloud" in it.

On a personal level, our music players are streaming from the cloud, our tablets and eReaders are getting books from the cloud, our TVs are streaming video from the cloud and our smart phones and PCs are being backed up to the cloud. Google has glasses that connect you to the cloud and Samsung just came out with a watch that connects you to the cloud. Like the electricity and water in your home, the cloud is always there - at least that has become the perception and expectation.

On a business level, our expectations are influenced by our personal exposure and experiences with technology. There is an assumption that by going to the cloud, the services provided will always be there, like the light switch.

Recent Heavy Weather in the Cloud
Cloud services and service providers do enhance those expectations. By dispersing applications across multiple servers and multiple data centers, the technology implementations allow for higher levels of fault tolerance. The risk is that the higher levels of complexity needed to implement these infrastructures introduce new potential ‘technology storms' that can expose a business to unexpected failures and outages.

One need only read the headlines of public cloud outages over the last year whether it be NASDQ, Amazon, Google, and numerous other providers to understand that going to the cloud does not come with 100% availability, and that comes with a cost.

  • In January of this year, DropBox experienced an outage due to a ‘routine maintenance episode' on a Friday evening. Customers experienced 2-5 hour loss of access to services, some lasting into the weekend.
  • In August of last year, NASDAQ was shut down for 3 hours. The root cause was determined to be a ‘data flood' on requests that peaked at 26,000/sec, (26 times normal volumes) that exposed a software flaw that prevented the fail-safes from being triggered to allow operations to continue.
  • In that same month, Google experienced an outage of their services that only lasted 4 minutes. In that short period of time, Internet traffic dropped by 40%. (The fact the outage only lasted 4 minutes speaks well of Google's recovery plans and services.)
  • On January 31st, 2013, Amazon had an outage that lasted only 49 minutes. The estimated cost to Amazon in lost sales for that 49 minutes is estimated to be between $4-$5M dollars. (Several other companies that utilize Amazon's services, such as Netflix, also experienced the impact of this outage.)
  • As far back as two years ago, a large portion of the State of Maryland's IT services to the public were down for days due to a double failure in the storage sub-systems and their failover systems. No system is immune.

Planning for Availability and Recoverability
Going to the cloud does not in and of itself provide high availability and resiliency. Like any technology architecture, these capabilities need to be designed in and come with a cost. Higher availability has always required more effort and associated costs, and going to the cloud alone does not necessarily provide what your business is expecting from that light switch.

When moving to cloud architectures, whether they are public or private, business needs and expectations around availability and resiliency must be defined and understood. You cannot take for granted that by being in the cloud the needs will be met. Due diligence must still be performed.

  • When going to the public clouds, you need to make sure the availability requirements from the business are included in the SLAs with the cloud vendor.
  • When building a private cloud network, it is incumbent on the IT organization to ensure the needs and requirements are baked into the design and implementation of that infrastructure, and that expectations with the business are properly set and understood.
  • Risk mitigation plans need to be developed and in place before outages occur, as even the best infrastructure may still have a failure (such as the State of Maryland). Going to the cloud does not negate the need to develop and have a business continuity plan.
  • If working with a public cloud provider, this is a joint effort, not solely the vendor's responsibility or yours. Vendors will have their own set of plans, and you must dovetail yours with theirs. Make sure you understand what they have in place before signing on the dotted line.

No technology negates the need for proper planning and the cloud is no different. Ultimately, weathering the technological natural disasters in the cloud is accomplished just like we weather those of Mother Nature, prepare a plan, so when the storm does hit, you can make it out the other side.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is a director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Governments around the world are adopting Safe Harbor privacy provisions to protect customer data from leaving sovereign territories. Increasingly, global companies are required to create new instances of their server clusters in multiple countries to keep abreast of these new Safe Harbor laws. Is it worth it? In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director of Anexia, Inc., will discuss how to keep your data legal and still stay in business.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...