Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing Opinion: The Goal of "Five Nines" - 99.999% Availability - is Meaningless

Cloud-based disaster recovery may very well be the "killer app" for cloud computing

Reuven Cohen's Blog

Lately it seems there are a number of people in the cloud computing community who are starting to discuss alternatives to the dreaded five nines concept and looking at ways that cloud-based infrastructures could be configured/deployed in a manner that is more proactive than reactive to disasters.

For about as long as there have been computer networks, administrators have attempted to keep these networks up and running. It seems to be a continuous battle between faulty hardware, poorly written software, unreliable connectivity and random acts of God. With the emergence of cloud computing we are now for the first time close to realizing a computing environment where we are able to focus less on keeping our applications up and more on making them run more efficiently and effectively.

In the era of cloud computing uptime guarantees and service level agreements (SLA) have started to become standard requirements for most cloud providers. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have all started to implement some kind of SLA. They do this in an attempt to give their cloud users the confidence to utilize these systems in place of more common in house alternatives. The common goal for most of these cloud platform is to build for what I consider the myth of five nines. (Five nines meaning 99.999% availability, which translates to a total downtime of approximately five minutes and fifteen seconds per year.) The problem with five nines is it's a meaningless goal which can be manipulated to meet what ever you need it to mean.

In the case of a physical failure such as FlexiScale's recent one, the hardware downtime might be small, but the time to restore from a backup might be considerably longer. A minor cloud failure could cause a cascading series of software failures causing further application outage of hours or even days for those who depended on the availability of the given cloud. Meaning your cloud may achive five nines, but your application hosted on it doesn't.

Lately it seems there are a number of people in the cloud computing community who are starting to discuss alternatives to the dreaded five nines concept and looking at ways that cloud based infrastructures could be configured/deployed in a manner that is more proactive than reactive to disasters. There is a growing consensus that cloud-based disaster recovery may very well be the "killer app" for cloud computing. To achieve this, we need to start creating reference architectures and models that assume for failure. One that doesn't need to worry when the next disaster will happen next, just that it will happen and when it does, it's going to be business as usual.

In a recent conversation with Alan Gin founder of a super secret stealth firm called Zeronines, Alan described an interesting philosophy. He said the problem with most disaster recovery plans is the recovery is reactive, it is what happens after a disaster has already harmed your business. He said on its face, this is an unsound strategy. He went on to say; That current disaster recovery architectures, which uses the synonym “failover,” is based on the cutover archetype: a system’s primary component fails, damaging operations; then failover to a secondary component is attempted to resume operations. The problem with current cutover approaches is that it views unplanned downtime as inevitable, acceptable, and so requires that business halt.

I really liked this quote from an executive from EMC, a leading computer storage equipment firm, “current failover infrastructures are failures waiting to happen.”

To be competitive in today's always connected, always available world. We need to reinvent the fundamental idea of disaster recovery. One of the major benefits to using cloud computing is that you can make these types of failover assumptions well before they happen using an emerging global toolset of cloud components. It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when, when you take into consideration that application components will fail then you can build an application that features "failure as service". One that is always available, one with Zero Nines.

More Stories By Reuven Cohen

An instigator, part time provocateur, bootstrapper, amateur cloud lexicographer, and purveyor of random thoughts, 140 characters at a time.

Reuven is an early innovator in the cloud computing space as the founder of Enomaly in 2004 (Acquired by Virtustream in February 2012). Enomaly was among the first to develop a self service infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform (ECP) circa 2005. As well as SpotCloud (2011) the first commodity style cloud computing Spot Market.

Reuven is also the co-creator of CloudCamp (100+ Cities around the Globe) CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas and is the largest of the ‘barcamp’ style of events.

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
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one bottle of the oil for commercial purpose. But from its medical properties to its culinary importance, skin lightening, moisturizing, and protection abilities, down to its extraordinary hair care properties, prickly seed oil has got lots of excellent rewards for anyone who pays the price.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected path for IoT innovators to scale globally, and the smartest path to cross-device synergy in an instrumented, connected world.
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of the world’s largest data centers. Click here to schedule a meeting with our experts and executives.
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understanding as the environment changes.