Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

Cloud hosting and resiliency

12/16/2021 by Sam Cohen

By Sam Cohen

Cloud has been the main buzzword in the Information Technology space for the past few years.  Tied for second place have been private cloud and public cloud.

What are the differences? To sum it up, you can think of private cloud as “some other department’s machines,” while public cloud is “some other company’s machines.” While many businesses think they will save money by outsourcing their information technology to some other company, what they may give up, knowingly or unknowingly, is resiliency of their information technology.

Some well-publicized interruptions to services delivered by IT service (e.g. cloud) providers reinforce that point. This week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was down for more than five hours in the Eastern U.S., disrupting a wide range of companies including Google, Disney+, Venmo, DoorDash, Robinhood, Social Security Administration, and even Roomba vacuum cleaners.

In October, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were down for six hours. In June, Fastly failure disrupted CNN, the New York Times and the UK government home page. That same month, Akamai was down during peak business hours in Asia.

With those examples of fragile public cloud infrastructures in mind, let’s look at what a business should consider before outsourcing to a public cloud provider.

The main consideration is the potential business impact due to loss of access to the business’ applications and data. Business impact is not limited to loss of productivity or real revenue (measurable) but also to reputation and your customers’ confidence in your business (immeasurable).

To counter loss of access, a business can choose to keep more parts of its infrastructure in-house or arrange for a higher level of resiliency by its service providers. Strictly defined and enforced service level agreements (with performance penalties) should be used to mitigate business impacts.

Using multiple service providers is an additional method for mitigating risk.  To enable this, application development should be using vendor-neutral coding techniques to avoid vendor lock-in.

LRS Information Technology Services is available to discuss the business impact of IT residency and resiliency. Just fill out the form below to request a meeting to discuss your needs.

About the author

Sam Cohen is a technical consultant for LRS, with over 40 years of experience in the information technology field. He helps customer with devising strategies for information processing, including availability, resiliency, security and human factors.