Cloud computing's hidden costs, part one

Opinion

Cloud computing's hidden costs, part one

What are the hidden costs of cloud computing?

Let's count them.

There are some awful fates awaiting you in the cloud.

Take for example, the fate that befell New York publisher Curbed Network, which got kicked to the kerb when its data was suddenly seized by the FBI.

The problem with being in the cloud was that Curbed Network had no idea who its neighbours were. Neither did the FBI, to be fair. So they took out every server in the hybrid cloud hosted facility they raided in Reston, Virginia.

The host, DigitalOne, was powerless to defend its clients. "In the night FBI has taken 3 enclosures with equipment plugged into them, possibly including your server," explained chief executive, Sergej Ostroumow. "We cannot check it."

Though the G-men were only interested in one of the company's clients they took servers used by "tens of clients", and after their visit DigitalOne could not restart its own servers for 15 hours.

Curbed Network's sites, including popular blogs covering real estate, restaurants and other topics, were left unavailable for days. As were Instapaper, a service that saves articles for later reading and Pinboard, a bookmarking site. Pinboard managed to run on a backup server.

Companies can survive downtime, as this example shows, but being taken out like this is likely to be fatal for many organisations.

So the cloud could be fatal.

This was first published in August 2011

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