Whats wrong with AWS & other cloud tech?

S. Dale Morrey sdalemorrey at gmail.com
Fri Nov 18 08:54:49 MST 2011

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment and start a thread on the current state
of "The Cloud".
While it's not a term I'm particularly fond of, I've found the value
proposition of PaaS like Amazon AWS & Google App Engine to be
compelling (haven't really tried any of the others).

Thus far I've only used "The Cloud", for toy apps and demos, I haven't
even considered banking an entire business on it.
Recently though I was in a discussion with a client who has run the
numbers and realized that they will save about 80% on infrastructure
costs if they offload all their IT into a cloud solution.

Frankly, this is giving me a gut twisting feeling but I'm not sure why.
My first instinct was to try and bring up the AWS outage last April
that knocked so many people offline for so long.

However this setup is designed to resist that sort of outage by
leveraging geographically diverse data centers and pushing static
content to edge servers (Elastic Beanstalk + CloudFront).

Other than that I can't really think of anymore objections to it, but
something doesn't feel right and I just can't put my finger on it.
So I'm soliciting the feedback of the group to help me come up with a
proper list of pros & cons for moving the workload of about 20 servers
off into the cloud.

For the record the client has 20 servers located in a single
datacenter, and it was during the design of their business continuity
plan that they realized they suffer from the potential for a
catastrophic single point of failure.  Client is a healthcare records
management & billing company, so HIPAA & PCI are both significant
concerns. But they do have strong encryption on the data and there are
pretty tight controls on who exactly gets access to what data.


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