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Computerworld: What happens when your cloud provider evaporates?

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
12:46 pm

Besides the punny article title, Computerworld’s Lucas Mearian offered a provocative opening line in his article, “What happens to data when your cloud provider evaporates?

Over the past year, four cloud storage service providers have said they’re shutting down and Amazon’s cloud services have been problematic since Thursday.

Does that scare you away from Cloud Computing? What does a company do if its cloud storage provider goes out of business?

Currently, there’s no way for a cloud storage service provider to directly migrate customer data to another provider. If a service goes down, the hosting company must return the data to its customer, who then must find another provider or revert back to storing it locally, according to Arun Taneja, principal analyst at The Taneja Group.

Is help on the way?

The Storage Networking Industry Association’s Technical Work Group is developing an API called the Cloud Data Management Interface that would allow providers to migrate customer data from one vendor’s cloud to the next — a move aimed at alleviating vendor lock-in.

That API, if adopted by the industry, will become more important over the next several years as nearly three out of four cloud storage companies that cropped up in recent years whither and die, according to Taneja.

It seems that the Amazon cloud troubles has caused a fair bit of introspection into the cloud services industry. Given the unabashed hysteria about cloud computing in the past several months, I think deep instrospection is very healthy.

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