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Azure outage drudging up concerns about cloud's capabilities

Microsoft is the latest cloud provider to suffer an outage and send the IT world into a state of frenzy. Customers are questioning the capabilities of cloud computing, but are they overreacting?

An Azure outage sent the world of cloud computing spiraling, but the cross isn't just Microsoft's to bear. Cloud outages plague all providers -- big and small -- so customers can't escape an outage.

"Outages [are] kind of part of the universe," said David Linthicum.

Linthicum discussed the recent Azure outage with Kacy Clarke, VP and Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. "Frankly, everyone who has ever run a data center knows that we do very complex systems and all sorts of things can go wrong," Clarke said. Other cloud trends and topics include:

1. Are cloud customers overreacting to outages?

"The hype may get a little out of hand, but frankly outages are serious businesses to clients," Clarke said. So, what are the best practices emerging for outages? Clarke believes providers should be more proactive in notifying customers about trouble.

"[Providers] shouldn't have to get a notification from a customer that something is wrong," Clarke continued. "Customers shouldn't have to be calling someone to figure out what's the health, what are you doing to fix it … and when is it going to be back up?" But will the problem ever go away? (2:10-8:28)

2. Google recently used third-party auditors to grade the company's cloud services. Linthicum wonders if Google is just patting itself on the back with its cloud report card. Should auditors release the cloud provider reports even if they are not positive for the provider? Clarke and Linthicum agree providers are less likely to call out negative report cards. Is any cloud provider above the rest? Linthicum argues it depends on what the company is looking for, requirements and money.

"You have to understand what your application needs. … Let the buyer beware," Clarke said. (8:30-15:22)

3. In an effort to recruit developers, Amazon Web Services is reopening lofts where developers can hang out and test its latest technology. Is this a good idea? With Google and Microsoft heading in the same direction, will developers eventually specialize in one provider's services? (15:23-19:41)

Next Steps

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This was last published in September 2014

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