Experienced managers know that vendors come and go. They plan for the eventuality that a critical partner company may go out of business or may be unable to meet their supply needs. It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket and bet the entirety of a company’s success on a third-party. The big guys know this, which is why they’re all about vertical integration; where possible, they often simple buy their suppliers. Where that’s not possible, they make sure they have multiple options for provisioning the resources they need.
Public cloud service providers are no different. The cloud sector is still volatile and immature, with startups sprouting almost daily and just as quickly shutting down; they may find that their business model is unsustainable for any number of reasons, they may be bought out and shuttered by a bigger fish, or they may just go bankrupt leaving their customers holding the bag. Even large cloud hosting companies aren’t entirely to be relied on.
One of the major concerns when a cloud vendor shutters is getting the data out and onto functioning platform. Migration between cloud vendors is getting easier, especially as standards are evolving around the open cloud, but the process is not nearly as smooth as it might be, and is likely to lead to disruption to business processes.
While public cloud businesses are all the rage these days, there’s a lot to be said for the traditional methods of provisioning infrastructure. Businesses turn to the cloud because they fear making a large investment in hardware, but, to deploy a private cloud or server cluster running on hardware the business owns or rents need not involve a crippling capital expenditure.
Collocated and dedicated server costs are competitive with cloud servers and the networking infrastructure is usually managed by data center system administrators, whereas cloud networking infrastructure is largely left up to the user, with expensive support contracts for those who need some hand holding.
Many of the benefits of cloud servers, including redundancy and failover, can be replicated with server clusters. And, although this is often touted as a benefit of the public cloud, the vast majority of businesses do not need on-demand server deployment; they need a solid, reliable platform that they can gradually scale as their business grows.