You could consider this a positive sign for Microsoft (MSFT): Interest in the recently announced public availability of Windows 7 Beta has been so strong that Microsoft’s servers failed under the load, leaving Windows engineers scrambling to add capacity.
Microsoft has been actively stoking interest in Windows 7 Beta, and they must have known interest would be high once they made it available. So what does Microsoft running out of bandwidth say about the reliability of Microsoft’s forthcoming “Azure” cloud computing environment, which promises to solve the problem of usage spikes for others?
Or consider Amazon (AMZN) knew — hoped for — e-commerce shoppers would flood their site on Black Friday. But even planning for the event, the EC2 vendor saw its servers creak and groan under the traffic strain with performance slowing visibly.
And then, last week cloud-based software service Salesforce.com (CRM) crashed top-to-bottom for about 40 minutes.
We know this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison: Microsoft’s FTP servers are not its Azure servers, and Amazon’s EC2 servers are not its e-commerce ones. But both companies knew for certain a usage spike was coming, and then both failed to meet the challenge.
We’re not negative on cloud computing — on the contrary, for a lot of companies the idea makes great sense, and we’re bullish on the idea. But we note the promise of some cloud evangelists that storage, bandwidth, or computing needs can “expand forever” seems misguided. There’s no such thing as infinite scalability.
Black Friday Traffic Surge Overloads Amazon’s Surge-Proof Servers
Unanswered Questions About Microsoft’s New Cloud Service “Azure”
Cloud Computing Reality Check: Gmail Goes Down For A Day