Does your cloud soar like an eagle? #cloudcomputing

From what I can see by reading this article that the IBM analysis of Amazon finds that cloud computing support forums are lacking, it’s more like limping along like a ruptured duck.

First is the idea that it can take 10 hours or more to just get a response to a problem (unless you shell out for the premium support) and possibly days to resolve. I don’t know any of my customers that would stand for this kind of turtle response when they have a problem. I don’t know if EC2 customers are just running exceptionally low priority work or if the cloud has just become commoditized to the point where people are accepting this as normal. My customers would be lined up at the door with torches and pitchforks.

Next we get this wonderful quote:

“… it typically does not provide guarantees on individual instance availability. Users should expect that the provided virtual resources may become unavailable at times, thus requiring users to restart their application instances on a new server.”

In other words, any particular part of the cloud may disappear without warning at any time and it’s up to the end customer to monitor and restart their own virtual on other running facilities. It’s bad enough to tick off customers by crashing the infrastructure but to make them responsible for their own manual disaster recovery is rather pathetic especially considering the opportunities for automation in the cloud, which apparently Amazon doesn’t take advantage of.

Then there’s the note that 166 administrators were involved in problem resolution but that most of the problems were resolved by just 10 administrators. That means that 94% of the administrators apparently weren’t pulling their weight. Anyone else see the problem with that?

So, how do you fix this, just what should cloud computing customers really expect? Well, beyond the obvious of decent response and resolution times, cloud automation holds the key.

Our own cloud service is based on the excellent Xen Cloud Platform, on top of which we added our own Xen Cloud Control System operations software. As part of this package, we have 2 watchdogs (the virtual machine watchdog and the host watchdog) plus the load balancer.

Accidently shut down a virtual machine and the VM watchdog restarts it automatically. Lose a host server and the host watchdog detaches the down host and the VM watchdog restarts all virtual machines that were running on that host. The load balancer automatically adjusts the cloud workloads for all of these changes. 15 minutes maximum to restore any virtual machine and it happens without any manual intervention from the customer or a cloud operator.

This is what the customer should expect their cloud to be, not a ruptured duck (or a turkey).

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services.


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