Don’t Let the Cloud Get You Down

In the wake of Amazon’s June 29th service disruption to high profile cloud platform clients including Netflix and Pinterest, talking heads have wondered whether the cloud is really all it’s cracked up to be. After all, they say, if the weather in northern Virginia can disrupt applications for millions of users around the world, might we need to return to dedicated servers?

No, says Voneto’s President, Corey McFadden. “Those organizations that suffered sustained outages mostly had their systems set up to rely only on Amazon’s northern Virginia data center, and therefore had a single point of failure. At Voneto, our cloud platform services–like hosted PBX and contact center systems–run in three different data center locations, each of which has redundant power, redundant storage, and platform management tools that allow us to reliably scale.”

In other words, don’t let a few companies that didn’t build redundancy into their applications scare you away from “the cloud.”

Failure is inevitable, and the cloud remains a more reliable platform than dedicated servers, even for businesses that can’t afford the extra cost of redundancy via multiple data centers. Yes, they have a single point of failure if they depend on a platform hosted at one site, but the odds of it failing are small compared to the risk of failure with dedicated servers in a back office somewhere.

If you aren’t a professional investor and you don’t know the market, you would likely choose a mutual fund over a hand picked stock portfolio to reduce your risk, right? Well if you aren’t a prepared to hire the army of engineers it takes to run a utility-grade data platform, then you probably won’t operate dedicated servers as reliably as a hosted service can, even if they do occasionally get some bad weather.

As San Francisco startup founder Benjamin Coe says in a blog post about recovering from the Amazon outage, “a lack of total redundancy can sometimes be an acceptable risk if approached responsibly.” If your business is one that relies on a single data center, he has a list of tips for you to cope.

-Emily Meehan