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20/20 Cloud (H)in(d)sight

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by fs999

There is a tad bit of smugness of people dissing the cloud after last week’s Amazon EC2 #fail.

I respect you a lot Doug, but on reading this:

Having recently considered moving this blog to Amazon EC2 because it’s “˜never down’ I breathed a sigh of relief. Bluehost may be slower at serving up content than it used to be but at least it’s never completely failed me. Outsourcing via set-it-and-forget-it only works if you’ve got a backup plan.

I cannot say that Amazon EC2’s selling point is “it’s never down”- and I bet sooner or later, whether you Bluehost, Dreamhost, Toasthost, or live off of that old PC server running in the basement, sooner or later (it could be years or seconds), you will be let down.

Count on it.

Amazon’s problem is that it ran so smoothly, that people started to think of it as Always On.

There is No Such Thing, except maybe the sun burns out (and you have 5 or so billion years to prep) or the next geologic era when the magnetic poles flip.

Everything will fail, eventually; what you need to do is know it, and be pro-active, and save yourself from becoming a mad screaming tweeting “where the &@%^@-is-my-site” monkey (which I have done when DreamHost has gone flop).

Be a Boy Scout. Be prepared. Have your backups done ahead of time. Brush your teeth. Floss too. All good advice, all obvious advice, until the day the sky falls, and you remember saying, “I think I’ll do my backups… next week”.

If you are in the digital spaces and do not have multiple backups of your important stuff, you are riding the risky edge (which Doug does allude to in his last sentence).

So it’s easy to now smirk and be dismissive of the Cloud. But the same rules apply there as elsewhere, single point of failure is a single point… of failure. It’s worth noting the approaches of those on EC2 that did not get hit by the falling sky– Lessons From a Cloud Failure: It’s Not Amazon, It’s You.

Of course, I will deny all of this calm advice next time Dreamhost tanks on me.

Why are you reading this and not checking your redundant backups?

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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