It's imperative to have more than one vendor hosting your data and applications, otherwise you're expose to too much risk should that supplier run into financial or technical difficulties
That's the opinion of Ray Bricknell, managing director of consultancy Behind Every Cloud. Speaking recently on an expert panel during a web seminar from V3's sister title Computing ‘Cloud mix and match - getting the balance right', Bricknell explained the potential issues.
"The concept of vendor diversity is very important in the private managed cloud world," Bricknell began. "Historically it would never have been possible to walk downstairs and find that your IT department has gone bus, or say that they're refusing to tell you how many virtual machines they're running."
According to Bricknell, both scenarios are possible when that IT department has effectively been outsourced to a third party cloud provider, something he calls the "2E2 effect", referring to now-defunct cloud vendor 2E2, which went bust in 2013 leaving £257 million owed to creditors. It also took an entire data centre's worth of its customers' information down with it.
"There's the 2E2 effect, where the vendor goes broke. The administrators in that case ended up sending notes to clients saying give us £10,000 now or your data goes away. Then there was the AWS [Amazon Web Services] outage last week. In that case around 20 per cent of the US cloud environment went down due to a single point of failure."
He also referenced the Office 365 service from Microsoft, which itself has had problems, along with other products from the firm, due to authentication issues.
"Email is probably the most critical application in most enterprises, and Office 365 is far from a stable beast. Can your business operate with email downtime?" he asked.
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