The Google Outage and Cloud Computing

It is a dark, dark day for cloud computing advocates such as ourselves . We could go on and on about cloud computing's benefits
May 29, 2009

It is a dark, dark day for cloud computing advocates such as ourselves. We could go on and on about cloud computing's benefits, but at some point you do bump up against the fact that whatever you put in the cloud--which, if you take our suggestions, is pretty much everything that your company has--is stored on someone else's servers and space rather than your own (although obviously cloud computing doesn't preclude backing up every so often; but it does mean your stuff is out there, and that you use the cloud to conduct day-to-day computing). And what that means is that whether those servers go down is out of your control. And they can go down. Hint hint, Google.

Yes, Google was down today. It was a nightmare. We're speaking personally here--we couldn't access our Gmail or our Google Reader RSS feed for, like, an hour. As we say, a nightmare.

So yes, it's time for the anti-cloud computing people to gloat.  Forbes is game. The piece actually has some many sage insights about what it means that so many are dependent on the servers of so few companies. It also points out that Google's guarantee (albeit for free services) of 99.9% uptime gives it almost nine hours each year to be down without even breaking its promise, which truly is terrifying. And then, yes, the piece concludes: "Of greater concern is what the outage implies for trust in cloud computing services, the biggest hope for the tech industry as it moves out of its slump."

Well, look. We talked about this before, when Google's cloud software suite was down for a bit in Western Europe. Servers crash all the time, whether they're under your roof or not. These outages are not an argument against cloud computing; they're an argument for taking extra security measures and for backing everything up.

Also, memo to Google: please don't ever do that to us again.

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