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Cloud computing gaffes and other letdowns

Stuff happens. Not only do IT admins flub cloud projects but even IT giants like Google slip up. Take comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

Everyone makes mistakes. Cloud vendors let you down by failing to live up to promises spelled out in their SLAs, and even Internet giants like Google get caught meddling using seemingly Orwellian tactics. And that's what this installment of Quotes from the Cloud is about: The mistakes we make.

Made a major gaffe recently? Don’t panic. Sometimes when it seems like nothing is going right, all you need is a place to turn when the proverbial stuff hits the fan. Here’s some advice for cloud admins in the midst of a meltdown. And, if nothing else, this week’s news will prove you aren’t the only one making mistakes.

"There is nothing 'next generation' about HP's announcement."

Shlomo Swidler, CEO of Orchestratus Inc., is less than impressed with HP's Converged Cloud updates. Though the hardware giant hasn’t made any mistakes, per se, it seems like HP is constantly playing catch-up to compete with well-established cloud players. Was it too quick to release its first iteration of the Converged Cloud portfolio? Or were the updates just really good afterthoughts? Though some are cautiously optimistic about HP’s next-round of updates, some experts say they still may not be enough to sway enterprise customers.

"Instead of pulling off the 'All singing, all dancing' vision Microsoft would like to promise, it’s more likely the company will need at least two iterations to achieve the basics."

Senior news writer Stuart J. Johnston notes that many in the cloud worry Microsoft's 're-introduction' of its Platform as a Service Windows Azure is nothing more than a flash in the pan, instead of a much-hyped cloud computing golden ticket. With users still numbering only around 100,000 -- far lower than user projections of industry leader Amazon Web Services -- this big reveal leaves IT pros wondering what Microsoft isn't telling us.

"Mistakes happen when cloud admins hand over cloud-ready IT services to an inadequate cloud provider."

Outages and service provider failures go hand-in-hand with cloud adoption. However, you shouldn’t compare cloud providers simply on the basis of who has -- or hasn’t -- made a mistake. Picking a cloud provider that doesn't match your business needs and goals, is incompatible with your current IT environment or for which you don't have the in-house support to manage are other blunders IT admins can make when choosing a cloud service. Microsoft MVP Greg Shields reminds us that errors go both ways; cloud providers can make mistakes, but IT admins can make mistakes, too.

"When it comes to cloud SLAs, the devil is in the details."

Larry Carvalho of Robust Cloud LLC reminds all IT pros to research, research, research. Don't make the error of assuming anything when you make a deal with a cloud provider. The onus is on the cloud adopter to ensure the cloud SLA matches expectations; get all the details on pricing, data security and the rights you have before putting your John Hancock on dotted line.

"It’s important to remember that not all data is mission-critical."

IT admins can get a little protective of their data, and cloud expert Dan Sullivan is talking to you -- the over-protective IT admin. Avoiding mistakes doesn't mean taking zero risks. Your cloud storage policy should balance these risks. Carefully evaluating which data can be safely stored without oodles of redundant copies is a smart business decision that can save money and take the strain off internal resources.

"We are acutely aware that we failed badly here. We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake."

IT titan Google made a major "uh oh" recently. Alan Eustace, senior vice president of research and engineering for the company, admitted that Google's Street View cars used for Google Maps had collected personal data over open WiFi networks, but said it was entirely accidental and subsequently deleted. There is doubt cast on the latter in both the U.K. and U.S., but whether that has to do with old books and conspiracy theories or it's grounded in the truth has yet to be determined. I guess we’ll find out if Eustace is being honest after the robots take over.

Caitlin White is the Associate Site Editor of SearchCloudComputing.com. Contact her at cwhite@techtarget.com.

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