Worries of Cloud Computing{4}

by Cole O’C
This CNN Money/Tech Fortune article discusses several issues currently present with cloud computing, including cloud outages, security issues, server issues, and general confusion. After Amazon’s cloud outages, which affected both small companies and corporate giants, this monstrously powerful technology has come under more scrutiny. The article argues that, even with outages, cloud computing is still a far safer and more efficient method for most companies. It states that the visibility of cloud outages due to so many companies being affected is a somewhat unpleasant advantage, as an internal IT service could fail without anyone noticing for quite some time. The next topic discussed is cloud security and server separation, mainly focusing on how security issues of one company may affect the others. It uses an example of how Dropbox, a file-syncing startup company, had a programming glitch which enabled users to access accounts without inputting the correct password. While this would be quite disastrous even without cloud computing, it becomes more of a concern when an unsecure server is physically connected to other virtual machines running on the cloud that would be otherwise safe. Lastly, the article mentions the confusing nature of cloud computing, and how the majority of people (stated as 78% according to NPD Group) do not actually understand the concept of cloud computing, while an almost equally-sized majority (76%) uses cloud-based services, such as Hulu and Gmail.

There are two things that really stick out to me in this article, the first of which is the amount of people that use cloud computing without even understanding what they are using. Cloud computing seems to have slipped seamlessly into the technical part of society without the majority really noticing, which I find quite remarkable. I feel as though people might be more concerned with the topic if they realized how much of their life revolved around cloud computing. There are three specific services that I, among many others, use every day: Skype, Gmail, and YouTube. I would have difficulties in my day-to-day happenings if any of these cloud-based services went down. More frightening is the idea that, with cloud computing, they could all simultaneously experience problems and become one great grimy, murky cloud.

The other facet that I found intriguing was the concept that mass outages could be seen as an advantage, but it really does make sense. If I was part of a small company that relied on the Internet for the majority of its revenue, I would be devastated to discover that our website had been experiencing problems for several hours without any employees noticing. However, if the same small Internet company was running off of cloud-based technology from (for instance) Amazon, it would be very obvious that there were problems. There are bound to be millions of people immediately aware of problems when your small firm is running off the same set of servers that house Netflix, Hulu, Skype, YouTube, and Gmail. Will the outage still be problematic for the company? I can confidently say that it would. However, will it go unnoticed for any significant amount of time when thousands of sites and millions of users are impacted? It’d be a stretch to say yes to that question.


Mangalindan, J. (2011, Aug 12). Cnn money. Retrieved from http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/08/12/4-threats-to-cloud-computing/