Storms in the Clouds.

The Cloud is a concept of moving data and computing off our local machines, and onto servers, usually somewhere on the internet.  The cloud concept is one of the major factors of the success of smartphones and touchpad devices. The storage capacity and computing power is moved off line. gaming is made even more exciting by interactive play between users. The linkage and technical bookkeeping  done in “the clouds”

The past few days though have exposed the potential issues of computing in the clouds. Amazon had a huge crash that took down a bunch of sites and lost data for many businesses

There’s no doubt that the recent “partial failure” of the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform is giving enterprises, service providers, and developers pause–and will continue to do so for months to come. Amazon called the outage “partial” and a “degradation,” but it was a very big deal. A significant part of Amazon’s flagship EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) was offline for a day, as were the related EBS (Elastic Block Store) and RDS(Relational Database Service) offerings. The failure affected only the northern Virginia data center (“US-East”), and the majority of AWS services continued to run just fine. But for the customers whose hosted IT was down, there was nothing partial about it; their sites and applications were substantially or completely offline. These included marquee Web properties like Foursquare, Formspring, HootSuite, and Reddit, among hundreds of others.

Upping the ante, the failure propagated across multiple “availability zones,” which are supposed to use physically distinct, independent infrastructure with no shared components–precisely to make such failure propagation impossible. Ooops! and OOOPS!! Even worse, it turns out that Amazon permanently lost some customer data. There probably is no greater sin in information technology than losing a customer’s data.

Sony also had to shut down its PlayStation Network, the private information including Credit card information of 77 million users are now owned by unscrupulous hackers.  Sony who is no stranger to hacking has shut  down the system for over a week now.  Perhaps people don’t understand how disreputable Sony has behaved in the past about hacking, and stealing gnu code,  while they participate in pursuing downloaders, It is curious that so many  would give Sony credit card information over the internet with their reputation for technological thuggery and heavy handedness.  Be careful with whom you do business.

The lesson learned thought is twofold.

  1. Some of these cloud functions and services are experimental. Google still calls many of its older services ‘beta’ Amazon has what they thought was a bulletproof system. Like they say “Shit happens”  a series of events that weren’t understood beforehand is what caused their catastrophe.  The end result will very likely a better more powerful Borg system.
  2. Be careful with whom you do business.  A company that hacks its customers computers, shouldn’t be trusted, and will attract other hackers and other disreputable types.  I might be Ludite, but maybe we would be just a little more circumspect about putting our credit card information out. There are other game platforms out there that haven’t actively hacked its customers computers.

 

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