Take note before jumping on the cloud bandwagon: even relatively mature cloud applications like Google’s (GOOG) gmail — which unlike the many cloud upstarts already has a track record several years long — still suffer from massive failures. The latest outage Wednesday night was a doozy: some Google Apps users were locked out of Gmail for over 24 hours. No word on exactly how many users were affected, or just what went wrong.
Reason enough to stay out of the cloud, and miss out on reduced IT expenses? Cloud defenders will say that locally-hosted applications can and do fail too. True. But when company email goes down, or worse, an ERP system like accounts receivable or general ledger processing (note both SAP (SAP) and Oracle (ORCL) are talking up the cloud), there are still options. If you manage your own data on-site, you can glower at your IT team and threaten them with bodily harm. You can devise an interim solution by pulling old email address or customer account data from a tape backup. And most important, you can get an answer as to what exactly went wrong so you can take steps it won’t happen again.
Go with a cloud computing solution, and your option set is different: Call your support hotline. Attempt to convince the outsourced customer service rep the problem is real and you’re not imagining it. Then wait as patiently as you can until you hear things have been fixed.