Cloud is ephemeral

The Cloud is just someone else’s servers, or a portion thereof. Use the cloud because you want to scale quickly, only pay for what you use, and put someone else, with a global team, on the hook for recovering from outages. You’d also like a safety net, somewhere out there with the data you cannot afford to lose. But whatever is important to you, don’t keep it exclusively somewhere out of your control. Don’t keep your one copy “out there”. Back it up, replicate it. Put your configuration and infrastructure in source control. Distributed. Cloud thinking is about not relying on a machine. Eliminate Single Points of Failure, where you can, although there’s little you can do about a single domain name.

Understand your provider. Don’t let bad UI or configuration lose your data : Slack lost 800,000 messages.

Your cloud provider is a dependency. That makes it your responsibility. Each will give you features you can’t get on your own. They give you an ecosystem you can’t get from your desktop, and a platform to collaborate with others. They give you federated logins, global backups and recovery, content delivery networks, load balancing on a vast scale. But if the worst happens, know how to recover. “It’s in the cloud” is not a disaster recovery strategy, just ask the GitLab customers (although well played to them on their honesty so the rest of us can learn). Have your own backup. And remember, it’s not a backup unless you’ve verified you can restore.

It takes you 60 seconds to deploy to your current provider. How long does it take to deploy if that service goes dark?

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2 thoughts on “Cloud is ephemeral

  1. A cloud MAY be someone else’s server(s), but it can just as easily be your own hardware. This is one of the most overlooked items. Perhaps even more important, just because something is “on the internet” does not make it inherently cloud.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cloud is an ill defined concept, but here I’m thinking most about the auto-scaling and infrastructure outsourcing versions of the term. Obviously your own hardware is already your responsibility, but handing it over to someone else doesn’t absolve you from caring. For one, the new EU Data Protection regulations make that abundantly clear. Whatever third parties you use, your customer, employee and other collected data is your responsibility.

      Like

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