Microsoft became a true cloud provider this past weekend as it experienced nearly 22 hours of downtime on its fledgling Azure Services Platform. The cause of the outage has not yet been disclosed to the general public or the Azure user community.
In contrast to on-premise systems, in which the user is responsible for dealing with infrastructure problems, a big part of the appeal of the cloud is the fact that you don't have to manage your own systems, or deal with the inevitable failures that occur.
It's easy to go off on a tangent about the necessity of monitoring the cloud, but the real issue is one of communication. If Microsoft wants to be taken seriously as a hosting provider--especially one defining a very nascent wave of technology--there needs to be more information beyond what a single admin updates on an MSDN forum.
Of course, we would also assume the same thing of other cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine, and Salesforce.com, all of whom only provide the most basic uptime details (green=good, red=bad) with little to no explanation as to what exactly is being monitored. The obvious argument is that users don't need to know...until something goes wrong and information is scarce.
Third-party services such as Hyperic's Cloudstatus.com provide additional insight, but cloud vendors themselves have to become much more ardent about system status and the implications. How can vendors help to assuage issues related to outages? … Read more