When is a cloud not a cloud?

Event Date: 24 August 2018 : By Richard Auld

When is a cloud not a cloud?

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) externally hosted website went down for 24 hours recently due to an "unprecedented electrical surge" (see... link ) which has made me ask the question:

When is a cloud not a cloud?

The cloud shape was first used to describe large networks that were so big or complex that they couldn't, and didn't need to be, drawn in detail. So the first one I saw was the PSTN cloud on network diagrams for telephony. Cloud symbols were then adopted for hosted computing services, because, again, these were big and complex and couldn't be detailed.

Unfortunately the cloud symbol is now being used to describe hosted services as simple as a rack in a single data centre, which means that there is a single point of failure, even if the DC has N+1 everything.

For me, a cloud should mean multiple sites, multiple network links and multiple racks, providing N+1 resilience. If not, then the Cloud really is just "someone else's computer" and it will go down from time to time. If your application or website is important, then source a proper cloud hosting environment - like next cloud services.

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