Tag Archives: Intuit

Thursday data center tidbits: data center quality control?

From the phenomenally bad idea of the day file, we get this notion to put helmet cams on data center people and have marketing or finance audit them for “quality control”. You’re really going to give an organization as usually tech clueless as marketing or finance direct control over your data center people? Let me know how that works out for you.

In the wake of yesterday’s Intuit data center power failure, I saw this article come up via Twitter. What’s funny about this is the part about their new “state of the art” data center. If you have a new “state of the art” data center, how can you possibly excuse blowing your service up twice in 30 days with catastrophic power screwups? Maybe they should ask the guys from the first piece how to do data center quality control?

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Wednesday data center tidbits: Intuit faceplants again.

This afternoon, Intuit’s web sites are showing a message that they are unavailable due to a commercial power failure and that they are operating on backup power. This begs the questions. Wasn’t the last (self inflicted) power failure episode painful enough to do something about it? Just what ARE they doing with their “backup power”? Not running their customer facing web sites with it, that’s for sure.

Squeaky red bozo noses to Intuit for egregious data center operations screwups.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center services today.


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Intuit, #datacenter, and #cloudcomputing (the three horsemen of the apocalypse)

I knew it was going to happen just the moment I read about Intuit face planting their data center and web sites for 36 hours. The anti cloud computing crowd are out in force with their mantra that this “proves” that cloud computing is unreliable. What is does prove is that if people can’t come up with a good argument against something, a silly one will do in a pinch.

So, what exactly happened with Intuit? We do know that a power failure as the result of “routine maintenance” took down both primary and backup servers. I havn’t seen a detailed analysis of it yet, but a little deductive reasoning will reveal the likely chain of events.

Unless the data center power design is totally nuts, any power failure that takes out both primary and secondary systems would have to be in the high voltage primary power coming into the data center (ala the catastrophic power failure at The Planet’s data center in 2009). “Occurred during routine maintenance” is a code phrase that roughly translates as “We were screwing around inside of live power equipment doing something we didn’t really need to be doing and someone messed up”. This has been the cause of many data center power failure events over the last year.

Looking at the history of these events, it’s easy to see this has no relationship whatsoever to cloud computing, nor does it reveal any inherent weakness in cloud computing. So, just what does this outage show?

First, the folly of putting all your critical services in one data center.

Second, that it takes a total “smoking hole” disaster to disrupt cloud computing (showing up the lie that cloud is less reliable than a dedicated server).

Third, that Intuit (and other cloud providers) don’t understand that the consequences of failure in a cloud are far higher than the equivalent failure of a dedicated server and their infrastructure has to be designed for that (failure of a single cloud host will take out 10x or more the service that failure of a single dedicated server will).

Fourth, that Intuit (and other cloud providers) don’t take advantage of the features of clouds to automatically restore downed services. Have a hardware failure in our cloud and, as long as any of the cloud is still running, virtual servers will be restored and running in 15 minutes or less.

Fifth, that Intuit (and other cloud providers) fail to correctly assess the risk of doing “routine maintenance” on live data center power equipment.

So, what does this leave us with? Understand that a single cloud server is far more important than a single dedicated server, segment power so that no one failure will kill everything, run backup services in a separate data center, automate cloud disaster recovery, and stop monkeying around inside of live power equipment.

Would you look at that, it isn’t cloud computing’s fault after all.

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


Friday data center tidbits: Intuit data center face plants, Google patents stacking, and more!

First up is the piece about the 36 hour failure of Intuit’s data center as the result of a power failure cause by “routine maintenance”. What is it with data centers that they can’t resist screwing with critical power facilities in the name of “routine maintenance”? This has been an ongoing theme in major data center outages for the last several years. Really, if your primary operating power system requires true “maintenance” (and not just BS things like measuring phase rotation in live panels just to check), then you should reconsider your design. Squeaky red noses to Intuit,

News of the ridiculous: Is it REALLY a patentable idea to stack data center containers?

Finally, there’s the next big data center money giveaway, to support Microsoft in Iowa. It must be nice to be that rich and still have state governments shower you with public money.

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


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