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Doug's Mailbag: Constant Cloud, Changes in Communication

A reader discusses how important reliability, especially in the cloud, is in the workplace:

When thinking of the quality of something, 99.9 percent is pretty darn good -- until you apply it to IT Systems uptime. Obviously, if down time occurs during hours when nobody is working, then no big deal. But when does that ever happen?

My personal experience with service providers (back before the cloud) was they were never as concerned with my outage as I was, and they would sometimes even scold and threaten if you reported an issue more than once. I always hated the feeling of being beholden to these companies when my main goal was to increase the availability of the applications. I have long since invested in IT infrastructure and do not rely on outside hosting services any longer (other than applications that are regularly accessed by the public.

I do my best to keep my systems operational at all times, which does include down time for maintenance -- which is down time when I pick it. Obviously, I still rely on two critical service providers: an ISP and electricity. We currently have chosen to go with one service provider for our ISP, willing to risk the consequences if there is an outage. Just last week, we had a rare one. There was interruption to service for some workers, but many more continued to work with critical applications as if nothing was amiss. This would not have been possible with a cloud provider.

To be honest, since I have brought one of our most prominent applications in house -- e-mail -- I don't know if it would be possible to go back to a 99.9 percent SLA. My clients are much too spoiled now.

I continue to evaluate cloud services (e-mail is a big one for me) but then I see a two-hour down time and wonder what the C-level guys would think of IT if we had that. The last time we had a two-hour outage on e-mail was over four years ago when our co-located server bit the dust. Obviously, changes were demanded to avoid such an occurrence again.

Here's a reader's take on expanding communication technology:

As technology creates better methods of communication, we humans flock to the latest and greatest. Yes, our pocketbooks do the voting, and the vote is in:  We want the fastest method of communication.

The Pony Express was fast, but the telegraph was faster. Then came the telephone, and we all wanted one. Mobile phone?  I loved my big, bulky car phone back when I got it in 1990  --  now everyone has a cell phone.  E-mail was great, even cutting edge back in the late 1980s when I was using it. Soon, Blackberry connected us while on the road, and now Twitter gets it out to everyone immediately.  

Let's face it, except for a few hermits, we want to be connected 24 hours a day. And when we don't, we turn the damn things off.

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected]. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).  

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/24/2010 at 1:18 PM


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