The Inexpensive Cloud

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

The Inexpensive Cloud

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Amazon Web Services including EC2 is down today. When Gmail has any failure my twitter stream goes nuts. Facebook collapses often.

There is one thing people should keep in mind: Building Resiliency and Survivability into a Cloud Platform is not cheap.

For Agents, used to selling TDM with five nines reliability, moving to VoIP with less than that will be a shock, especially when they find out after the first outage.

For VAR's, who have been running their own servers, and like visitors to  Vegas who tell me they are up money, will tell you about never having any down time, moving customers to the Cloud, where you lack control and transparency, will be unsettling.

Everything breaks or burns out - that's the nature of commodities (and servers, power supplies, hard drives and NIC's ARE commodities). Outages will occur. The Cloud Provider has to provide updates (honest updates) - and the Channel will need to communicate with the customer. It will just be a shock the first time.

Let's just say that a cloud provider doing less than $8M in revenue is not going to have the finance or propensity to design in high-tech security, survivability, and resiliency, because it will be just too expensive. (This might explain why the finance industry is taking slow steps toward cloud use).

Let me explain. Security is a full-time job. Administering password management is just one aspect. The network gear is expensive - IDS, firewall, router, switch, etc. And in redundancy?! Twice or four times as expensive. (Two per data center as a back up and two data centers equals 4.) Add monitoring all those parts. Then securing the data, encrypting it, backing it up, off-site storage, etc. Not only expensive, but a challenge to manage.

And for Cloud Communications providers, dual data centers is more expensive when you consider that the softswitch is $250K and rides on a blade server (x2 for redundancy at each data center). Plus other gear like SBC's which aren't cheap either.

Even Google and Amazon can't keep everything up and running. Even these two don't have enough survivability and failover built-in to takeover after an outage.

This will be a problem for Agents selling Cloud. Agents and Customers will have to come to grips with the fact that the Era of Five-9's is ending. Luckily, consumers are so used to dropped calls and other glitches on the Internet, that perhaps this will lighten the blow. (Much like how inferior cellphone call quality allowed VoIP to take hold).

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