In his blog on the impact or otherwise of the recent Cloud outages caused by lightning strikes in Ireland, Cliff Saran points out the small size of one of the best known Cloud operations – selling surplus capacity on a global on-line retail operation. I have blogged before on the amorphous nature of Cloud computing and the way is used to embrace almost anything from a repackaging of the operations that EDS (now part of HP) and IBM have been running for the US Department of Defence for over 40 years to an on-line test environment.
The torching of businesses over the last few days by the rioters who looted them has opened up a new business case for the on-line, off-site, data back-up that is an integral feature of cloud computing. I had thought the torching was to destroy the evidence (including locally stored surveillance video) but it now appears it was also an anarchic revenge on all who had refused them jobs and “respect”.
Either way, whether the smoking heap of wreckage was a small business in a city centre, a superstore in a retail park or a national distribution depot for consumer goods, the case for having off-site processing and data storage has suddenly become much stronger. But the vulnerabilities of data centres to power problems and of communications networks to similar disruption (including lightning strikes and cable theft) also need much greater attention.
Hence the importance of the Information Society Alliance (EURIM) work on Shared Infrastructure issues as part of the policy study on Opening Britain for On-line Business. I am particularly glad that one of the main UK suppliers of Cloud Computing has just volunteered to help lead the work on the inter-operablity interfaces needed to help support resilient and secure services, with fewer of the vulnerabilities than other parts of the world.