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Can you trust Azure?

Posted by Preston on 2009-11-18

So The Register has a story about how Microsoft is edging closer to delivering it’s cloud based system, Azure.

It seems inept that through the entire article, there wasn’t a single mention of the Sidekick Debacle. As you may remember, that debacle was sponsored by ‘Danger’, a Microsoft subsidiary. If you think Microsoft weren’t involved because Danger was a subsidiary, think again.

If we can learn anything from this, it’s that too many people like to close one eye and half shut the other one to make sure they don’t see all those dark and dangerous storm clouds racing around their silver linings.

Based on Microsoft’s track record, I wouldn’t trust Azure for a minute with a KB of my data even if they were paying me. Not until there’s an industry-wide alliance for certifying cloud based solutions and ensuring vendors actually treat customer data as if it were their own most sensitive and important data. Not until Microsoft are a gold member of that alliance and have come out of their first two audits with shining covers.

Until then when it comes to Azure, all I see are dark Clouds with no silver linings.


2 Responses to “Can you trust Azure?”

  1. I disagree. Microsoft bought a small company, neglected them, ignored them, and then they failed. That only reflects bad on Azure if the same managers/directors who screwed up Danger are also managing Azure.

    They are a big company. A small corner of that company failed to deliver a service. That doesn’t automatically imply that the company will also fail to deliver a marquee product.


  2. Preston said

    The fact that Microsoft were directly involved in the recovery efforts, and commenting on the process starting with however speaks volumes.

    Yes, they’re a big company, but thus far one of their most cloud-centric ventures – Sidekick – fell over in a screaming heap which when all the dust settled was very much caused by poor operating protocols, insufficient data protection and, by virtue of those facts, a callous disregard for the importance of the customer data they were holding.

    One of the common issues I see with Cloud is that too often people are prepared to brush aside individual failures and point out that they’re only minor glitches, or only a few users (compared to the potential world-wide number of users) were affected, and so on.

    IT can sometimes be blinkered by the latest-and-greatest, and I’ll admit I fall prey to that myself from time to time as well. But I’m also, first and foremost, concerned with data protection – whether it’s mine or someone else’s. So I can’t blink away the Sidekick failure as coming from a Microsoft subsidiary. (Using other companies as an example, if Mozy somehow fell over in a huge heap tomorrow and user data could not be recovered, or all recoveries would have to wait 2 weeks while they restored their own data, I’d equally say that it’s not possible to just wave the blame away from EMC.) Too often in the corporate world we see parent companies insulated from the ramifications of the dirty failures of their subsidiaries, so I can’t accept the “Danger is not Microsoft” argument.

    Cloud should be something where companies are taken to task by their failures. Until we have accountability, we have to keep on hammering home failures on every front, so that people actually wake up and realise that they could be trusting their data to untrustworthy and invisible systems – and start demanding proof for that trust.

    I’m aware that there are more than a few conspiracy theorists who see dark and disingenuous motives in the Sidekick event. In fact, I read your commentary on one of those situations and agree with you wholeheartedly on that front.

    There’s nothing less dark though about incompetence, and incompetence doesn’t engender trust.

    Microsoft, by virtue of its subsidiary, has failed to demonstrate that they are to be trusted, and need to demonstrate this.

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