Slashdot loves Cloud Computing!

One of the reasons I love reading Slashdot is because the inhabitants of their community are unlike any other. This morning I woke up to an article on the front page about a venture capitalist who was defending the incredibly popular social game Farmville. Being interested in the topic I thought I would take a gander at the comments, that is when I came across this gem (direct link):

    This needs to be the year that those of us with even the slightest degree of technical knowledge take a stand against the goddamn "Cloud".
    It sounds fantastic in theory, but once in the real world, Cloud Computing falls flat on its face. My development and ops teams wasted too much time dealing with Cloud providers over the past year. So my resolution this year is to tell anyone who proposes the use of anything Cloud to cram it. We aren't doing it any longer. It's a failed approach.
    Just last week, during the holidays, we had to scramble after one of our Cloud providers ran into some hardware problems and couldn't get our service restored in a timely manner. After the outage exceeded my threshold, I called up my best developers and had them put together a locally-hosted solution in a rush, and payed them quite a bit more than usual due to the inconvenient timing. Then I called up the Cloud provider and basically told our rep there that we are done using them and their shitty service. Then I called up the manager in our company who recommended them, and told him to basically go smoke a horse's cock.

The commenter was apparently so proud of their work that they decided to post it anonymously. Now keep in mind that the article was about social gaming, it had nothing to do with the cloud. While Farmville does run on Amazon EC2, the article does not mention or discuss that at any point. Regardless, lets take a look at this comment and pretend that it was posted in a reasonable context.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the comment is the fact that it makes these huge substantive claims yet provides absolutely zero reasoning behind them. For example, "It sounds fantastic in theory, but once in the real world, Cloud Computing falls flat on its face." Really? In what sense? You must mean Animoto scaling form 40 to 4,000 servers in 3 days. Or how about the millions of people who are using Google Apps. Both of those are certainly real world and as far as I can tell there was very little falling on faces. In fact, the cloud helped Animoto avoid falling on its face!

As if the first claim wasn't enough the end of the second paragraph provides a real doozie. It completely writes off Cloud Computing by stating that "[i]t's a failed approach." Well I'd better get on the phone and tell all the people who put 64 billion objects into Amazon S3. That might take a little while...

The last paragraph at least provides a little bit of background on why this particular individual will "tell anyone who proposes the use of anything Cloud to cram it." (Well if he is going to tell them all to cram it maybe he can make all those calls to the S3 users for me...). This is where I start to get a little empathetic. Downtime sucks, it really does. Customers and providers can both agree that downtime sucks since everyone loses when it rears its ugly head. My question is this, if this service is so critical then why wasn't it built to be fault tolerant? If you are truly concerned about availability then you need to either a) build the service such that it can withstand failure or b) have an SLA in place with the provider. But honestly, who wants to do that? Instead I would recommend following the actions of the commenter which is 1) don't take the necessary precautionary steps to avoid downtime and then 2) complain when there is downtime. Whats next, eating three Big Macs a day and then complaining when you need triple-bypass surgery?

Lastly, I would like to commend the brave commenter for being brazen enough to tell a manager at his/her company to "basically go smoke a horse's cock." I can see your career blossoming as we speak.


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