Cloud: 100% Uptime Guarantee a Reality?
As more and more businesses are choosing Cloud-based technologies instead of traditional on-premise servers, the question of which Cloud to choose is more important than ever.
But what exactly makes one Cloud different than another?
What should you be looking for when searching for a vendor?
Is it possible to have 0% downtime guaranteed?
In this article, let’s start with the basics. Cloud Computing is still dependent on servers; just not the ones in your office. All Cloud technologies run on servers that are generally housed in a datacenter somewhere. The word “datacenter” can be a little vague when talking to various vendors though, so be sure to find out specifically what type of datacenter your data will be housed in. For example, you want to stay away from vendors that use their own office as their “datacenter”. These vendors most likely do not have the redundancy, security and power in place to meet minimum compliance standards, let alone the budget it takes to keep a datacenter running and updated with fresh equipment every few months.
So what type of datacenter should be used?
A good starting point is to know the ranking of the datacenter. Datacenters are ranked in Tiers 1-4 with 4 being the highest level of redundancy and security available. Generally, a Tier 4 will be completely sealed off from the public and will rent processing power for consumption, but will not allow a third party to co-locate (bring your own server) into their datacenter, whereas most Tier 3 datacenters will.
Renting server power from a datacenter is known in the industry as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Enterprise class Cloud technologies are built in Tier 4 IaaS datacenters because it is nearly impossible for an individual IT or software company to afford and refresh the server equipment like a Tier 4 datacenter is able to. Examples of leading IaaS providers are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google App Engine.
But even they are not perfect
As recently as last week, Microsoft Azure, which is where Office 365 is hosted, suffered from hours of downtime. Not even a giant like Microsoft can claim to have 100% uptime (as it is simply impossible to guarantee) but they should be able to get fairly close and many IaaS providers will guarantee up to 99.9% uptime.
Ask your Cloud vendor which datacenter they use and do some investigating online and see for yourself how stable that particular datacenter has been in the last year or two. The closer you can get to 100% the better.
Also, ask your vendor how they have built their Cloud solution. Is it built in just one datacenter? Do they backup or replicate to other datacenters? What has their overall uptime record been?
The more you know about the “engine” (or infrastructure) under their solution, the more comfortable you will be knowing you have made the best decision for your business.
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