If you want to fly in the Cloud, check the exits first

clouds1While Cloud adoption may be very cautious for core business systems, desktop clouds have seen a high take-up. But if you want to fly in the Clouds, you really should check your nearest emergency exit before you take off.

The cost advantages of putting all your desktop files and storage into the cloud are very persuasive, not to mention the attractions of access anywhere. But as Lustratus has pointed out before, there is a concern here. There are LOTS and LOTS of cloud suppliers – not unexpected when a new and radical idea comes along. But remember the real problem with cloud from the supplier’s side; the supplier has to put in all the investment in infrastructure up front, and then receives income in small per-user usage charges. This might look a great plan on a five-year basis with a rapidly expanding user base, but when year one or year two is tied to a period of tighter credit conditions it is easy to get over-extended. Look at G.host for instance, which went bust two or three months ago because it found its cloud no longer economical. Not a nice situation for all the people who had files and data living in it, although to be fair they got reasonable warning from the company.

The sensible thing to do is check the escape routes before you go in. Perhaps your cloud vendor will be fine, growing into the market leader with oodles of cash to invest in new infrastructure to sustain the huge number of users, but just maybe it might be one of the ones that doesn’t make it. Look at your back-up procedures, and put in place an emergency plan to avoid any disruption if the worst happens. And make sure above all that you do your due diligence before selecting your cloud.