This Cloud Thing is Out of Control

I’ve been talking to some colleagues about moving to the Windows Azure cloud, and I’ve heard three reasons why they are resisting it: security, losing control, and trust.  In an earlier post, I wrote about securing the cloud.  In this post I want to address, from my perspective, losing control and trust.

I think “losing control” is the main reason we want to move to Windows Azure.  We lost control a long time ago.  Our servers work fine, but the reality is that if one of them exploded, it would take a while to get back up and running.  Sure, we have backups, but I’ve never felt confident in any backup system I have used.  (Except for the one on my Mac, but they don’t make Time Machine for Windows Servers and SQL Servers.)

I heard we are supposed to have a “patch management process” and a “disaster recovery plan”.  Who the heck is supposed to put those in place, and once in place who’s going to keep them current?  I imagine we could create a process to periodically review the plan.  Every so often, we could do a simulation and see if it works.  We could just buy a few more servers to set up a test environment.  Maybe we could have a committee who could report their findings to some IT manager who is responsible for the change-control process.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I guess some companies are swimming in money and have people to do those things, but we sure don’t.

We are supposed to have redundant servers, load balancers and replicated databases.  Those are expensive to set up, and they take smart people to keep working.  Are the streets filled with qualified network administrators with nothing to do?

From my perspective, “losing control” is not a reason to resist the cloud.  Rather, it’s a reason to embrace it.

I also keep hearing things like, “I’m not going to trust Microsoft with my data.”  Well, everyone in my company runs a PC with Windows (except for me because I’m the geek with the Mac).  We use Windows servers and store our data in a SQL Server database.  All our programming is done in Microsoft .NET, and all our documents are created using Microsoft Office.   Hmm, it seems to me that we already trust Microsoft with all our data.  Moving to the cloud only means we don’t have to wipe the dust off our servers every couple years.

Windows Azure will actually cost us more money than what we’re currently spending.  We are not buying virtual machines, though.  We are buying better control over backups, replication, patches, security, and disaster recovery.  Trust me, I think it’s worth it (from my perspective anyway).

To learn more about Windows Azure come to Learning Tree course 2602: Windows® Azure™ Platform Introduction.

Doug

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