The cloud has been generating a lot of buzz lately, but it's important to remember not all clouds are created equal and not all platforms are a good fit for every type of enterprise. Businesses looking to take advantage of cloud storage and other services should research the specific tools and service guarantees offered by various providers, to minimize downtime, protect data and maximize return on investment. This was a point recently made by an Internet Retailer article which offered a blunt warning to business leaders: "Make sure your cloud doesn't burst."
The article identified several risks, including service downtime and data loss. Many businesses are using services from different providers, increasing the chances that an outage will eventually occur.The keys to minimizing those risks with the cloud are research and preparation.
Businesses can look for cloud hosting providers with high uptime guarantees to ensure their resources will always be available. Risks such as data loss can be mitigated by utilizing backup services. According to Internet Retailer, the key is to identify which resources are critical to business and ensuring those have the highest level of protection. Companies should look to the cloud provider's service level agreement to understand uptime and service guarantees.
A recent CloudPro article also highlighted the importance for businesses to do their homework when it comes to cloud vendors. The article discusses an incident with 3:AM magazine, which lost 12 years of archived articles after its hosting provider closed its servers.
"When a company is looking to move their infrastructure, [they] should only speak to companies who will provide SLAs for their service," Marcie Terman, business development director at online backup specialist DataFort, told CloudPro."[That means] even if the company goes into receivership, it will be to the benefit of the creditors to keep services running."
Placing resources in the cloud can also present performance issues. An unexpected spike in traffic can cripple performance, unless the solution is highly scalable. Cloud hosting platforms with autoscaling tools address performance by allowing preset load balancing and performance thresholds. With autoscaling, businesses can handle unexpected burst traffic without contacting their provider, and they don't pay for more than they need once traffic normalizes. Moving resources to the cloud may present challenges. However, these risks can be mitigated by researching the guarantees and tools the vendor provides and understanding how those tools can meet the needs of the enterprise.