Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cloud lock-in

Back in June I used the demise of Google Reader to list a number of business issues with using third-party cloud storage services for long-term digital preservation. Scott Gilbertson was one of the users who were left high and dry. He has an interesting piece at The Register about the process of recovering from the loss of Reader. He starts from the well-known but very apt quote:
If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
then points out that:
Just because you are paying companies like Google, Apple or Microsoft you might feel they are, some how, beholden to you. The companies are actually beholden only to their stockholders whose interests may or may not be aligned with your own, so will change services accordingly.
and, after pointing out how easy it is these days for users to run cloud-like services for themselves, ends up concluding:
If you aren't hosting your data, it's not your data.
Also, Joe McKendrick at ZDnet pointed me to the Open Group's interesting Cloud Computing Portability and Interoperability. Joe introduces it by saying:
Along with security, one of the most difficult issues with cloud platforms is the risk of vendor lock-in. By assigning business processes and data to cloud service providers, it may get really messy and expensive to attempt to dislodge from the arrangement if it's time to make a change.
The guide, compiled by a team led by Kapil Bakshi and Mark Skilton, provides key pointers for enterprises seeking to develop independently functioning clouds, as well as recommendations to the industry on standards that need to be adopted or extended.
It is mainly about avoiding getting locked-in to a vendor of cloud computing services rather than cloud storage services, so its focus is on open, standard interfaces to such services. But the main message of both pieces is that any time you are using cloud services, you need an up-to-date, fully costed exit strategy. Trying to come up with an exit strategy when you're given 13 days notice that you need one is guaranteed to be an expensive disaster.

1 comment:

David. said...

Scott Gilbertson has posted Part Two. about using ownCloud to roll your own cloud services.