Icebergs and Black Swans
In a long view of the cloud, I am reminded of a discussion about how the loss of the Titanic was impossible. According to Walter Lord, the author of A Night to Remember, “Safety features that were possible were eschewed in favor of what was practical – the appearance of safety was mistaken for safety itself.”
Because of its newness in the market, some aspects of cloud storage still worry the experts. Here are a few questions you are encouraged to ask when debating a new vendor:
- Can the cloud vendor support a large number of clients all trying to recover at one time in the event of a large-scale disaster?
- What is the pipe size? Can the cloud vendor support ongoing business transactions or instantaneous access within my budget?
- How many clients can be supported at once?
- Can security measures stand up to the increasing sophistication of hackers and ransomware?
- Where is the proof of performance? Does the cloud vendor perform mock recovery drills?
- What happens if clouds fail?
- Who owns the title to the data in the long run?
- Who can own this cloud and where can they store the data? Whom can they share data with?
- Will preservation become more difficult as hardware and software ages? Who makes decisions regarding the format over time?
- Can the vendor predict the e-discovery costs for material stored in the cloud?
- Even as the cloud matures, some predict it will be replaced by flash technology. Can you estimate the costs to remove data previously placed in the cloud and place it elsewhere?
Time and experience will educate you on the benefits and downfalls of cloud storage, but for now, don’t be deceived by appearances.