Any technology has the potential to fail and cause problems for users and cloud computing technology is no different. Here are some of the most common cloud computing disasters that are regularly encountered.
The cloud is often considered as the perfect place to store your data instead of traditional storage routes such as in-house servers- which can fail causing loss of data. However, although the cloud computing model provides ‘virtual’ storage the data still needs to be held on physical ‘server farms’ which can also fail- causing data loss on a much bigger scale. If the servers of a cloud provider are down it can cause a knock-on effect, putting businesses offline and jeopardising their day-to-day running operations.
Cloud enthusiasts are quick to promote the safety and security of using cloud applications and data storage facilities and whilst this is true for a large percentage of providers, it is still possible to encounter issues. There are different cloud models with different levels of security built in to account for security issues, for example a public cloud infrastructure will be less secure than a private cloud and would not be suitable for businesses wishing to store highly sensitive data. The nature of the cloud though means that it will always be vulnerable to outside attacks and occasionally infiltration which can result in serious data breaches. The most difficult cloud model to protect from an outside malicious attack is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model. This is because users of this service generally tend to have more freedom when using the provider’s servers and storage facilities.
Providers of cloud computing systems are also faced with the difficult task of successfully managing the online environment. There are a variety of factors for cloud controllers and admins to consider at any one time, such as; load balancing, resource management, admission control, capacity allocation and energy optimisation. Therefore it is not uncommon for providers to experience issues with at least one of these factors from time to time.
As cloud computing technology is becoming more widely adopted and a central part of operating for many businesses, standardisation amongst cloud service providers is proving to be a larger problem than initially thought. Vendor lock-in- where a user is tied to a particular cloud services provider- whilst offering more security can also cause different problems for users. Sometimes it may be necessary for a user to work in conjunction with various providers to create the cloud system required for this business but vendor lock-in creates a barrier in this type of situation.
As cloud technology continues to evolve, solutions to the most commonly encountered problems will be provided but it is also likely that further problems will also arise. As a relatively new technology, there are still many variations of cloud service provision to be explored and perfected.