On Cloud accountability and availability

In my Cloud-related outings, there are a couple of topics that I especially like to expand on (my view) or get hung up on (in all likelihood, my audience’s view ;-) :

Accountability (as in: where’s a throat to choke ;-) . In general, Cloud providers are not liable for any data loss, IPR loss, downtime, etc. For an enterprise, this is a key departure from outsourcing, hosting, B2B, … which all have some form of indemnification and a clear chain of accountabilities or escalation should things go horribly wrong (i.e., starting from the CIO nearest the boo boo). How will Fortune 500 enterprises overcome the fact that Cloud business rests on reputation only?

Availability: in my opinion, it’s one of two things. Either we think in terms of legacy applications and live by traditional KPI goals like three- or five-nines uptime that are comparable to (say) the dialtone service. Or else we come up with entirely novel application paradigms and stop looking at cloud availability with the glasses of the 1980s. After all, we have already settled for a much lower-quality wireless dialtone and can live with dialtone-less homes whenever power goes off (there was enough extra value for us to compromise on those). What we cannot do – I submit – is to run unchanged legacy applications on-Cloud and pretend to live by some new, lax KPIs.

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