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Cloud Services. Waiting for the 'paint to dry'? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Saturday, March 9, 2013 11:43 AM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Cloud Services. Waiting for the 'paint to dry'?


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
Post #1428919
Posted Saturday, March 9, 2013 2:05 PM


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So, in a year’s time. Do you see that, for your role, you could usefully exploit a wider range of Cloud services or platforms for some of the tasks that you are responsible for? Are you constrained by compliance issues, security issues or corporate policy? Are you waiting for the ‘paint to dry’ before adopting Cloud service?



Nope. I waiting for them to actually have something that paint will stick to.

My biggest concern is security and we all know that's been a very real problem with providers. Even if I wanted to use some cloud-based service for something as simple as formatting code, I'm loath to do it because not only do I have to protect the data, I also have to protect the code.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

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Post #1428934
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 6:44 AM
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I had a large wall of text to post about this, but my cloud based editor provider forgot to renew their SSL certificate...

Post #1429234
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 9:07 AM
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Best commentary on Cloud Computing that I have read. Thank you for adding reasoned thought to the conversation.
Post #1429328
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 10:43 AM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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@Jeff
If you know of a small or medium-sized business that hasn't got any offsite backups, what would you advise them? You know my views on security, but you'd find me telling them to get a backup tool that offers 256-bit AES encryption for backups and then store the encrypted backups in AWS or Azure blob storage. I know of no cases where this combination has been hacked. Sure, if you leave the ids and passwords lying around maybe, then someone might use them but not through frontal attack. I'm all for balancing the risks, and I can think of plenty of businesses who have been destroyed by losing their data.

@Chrisn
No need to retype it, because it is on all the dodgy Russian sites in plain text.

@SHirst
Many thanks



Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
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Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:53 PM


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Phil Factor (3/11/2013)
@Jeff
If you know of a small or medium-sized business that hasn't got any offsite backups, what would you advise them? You know my views on security, but you'd find me telling them to get a backup tool that offers 256-bit AES encryption for backups and then store the encrypted backups in AWS or Azure blob storage. I know of no cases where this combination has been hacked. Sure, if you leave the ids and passwords lying around maybe, then someone might use them but not through frontal attack. I'm all for balancing the risks, and I can think of plenty of businesses who have been destroyed by losing their data.



Yes, I agree that kind of security is obvious but the security of backups is not what I was talking about. And, no... I'd likely not suggest to a small or medium-size business to send their backups to the cloud, secure or not. I've not checked the price in a while but it used to be that for a year's worth of cloud-based backup charges, you could buy a pretty nice tape backup system, a couple of years worth of tapes, and secure offsite storage. Although I agree that being able to electronically retreive your backups has some good advantage, it it does no good during an emergency if the cloud site is in a basement in New York city during a super storm (for example).

There are plenty of ways to not lose all of your data. Any serious business, even medium sized business, will have an offsite mirror site up and running ready to take over if the primary site goes down. Long before that happens, the servers would have shifted to their local mirrors. They'll also have physical backups in secure offsite storage as previously mentioned. For small businesses that can't afford that, then maybe the cloud would be the right place but, if it were my small business, I'd at least back that up with secure offsite tape storeage.

Getting back onto the subject of using the cloud, I know I sound skeptical but I just don't trust other folks with my databases from a security aspect, an availability aspect, or a performance aspect not to mention the backup aspect. I know I won't lose any data. If a cloud based provider lost even a byte of my data or I was down because their service failed, I'd be making a road trip in a postal uniform and carrying an axe. The cloud <> HA, IMHO.

Further, when you compare products like Azure to SQL Server, I'm finding that Azure comes up short in a couple of areas. I agree that not necessarily having to worry about hardware and operating system upgrades is a good thing in many cases, but I'd have to make another road trip if someone did an upgrade that my systems might not be compatible with and it took my systems down as a result.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1430198
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:05 PM


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Phil, in some ways I agree with you. If a VERY small company doesn't have the infrastructure to support their business model, and they don't have the throughput that would require building it, hosting on the cloud and letting them deal with the details could be very profitable for them.

Here's where it blows up: I still hate VM'ing a SQL Server. There's politics involved (everywhere I've been, anyway) in getting access to the tools you need to actually see a performance problem. Even when you do, you may not be able to drill deep enough into the systems to find it. Counters go awry, CPUs disappear (even when they're set to not disappear in the VM software... when the new guy comes in), and any other number of problems block an admin who's not also a sysadmin, a vm admin, AND the SAN admin from figuring out what's going wrong.

The Cloud adds yet ANOTHER layer of abstraction, to the point where I'd just throw up my hands and tell my boss: "I have no idea. It works in dev. Tell THEM to figure it out, I can't see crap."



- Craig Farrell

Never stop learning, even if it hurts. Ego bruises are practically mandatory as you learn unless you've never risked enough to make a mistake.

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Post #1430593
Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013 5:06 AM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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Agreed. Cloud VMs are fine for doing testing but I'd only recommend this where you need a lot of grunt for a short period, and you haven't the necessary local infrastructure (Windows Server 2012 makes it so much easier). There is a wonderful comment about hosting production databases in the cloud in the book 'Bad Data Handbook'. Chapter 14 'The Myths of Cloud Computing'.
Cloud computing
is fantastic for stateless, process heavy jobs, such as most application servers. The
cloud has historically been weaker at jobs where state matters. Data processing typically
falls in the middle of these two. For me, the ideal infrastructure would include the best
of both worlds: easy management of stateful machines running on optimized hardware
connected via LAN to commoditized cloud nodes for application processing. It’s important
to recognize that these cloud offerings are still infants in their life cycles.

Do you hit VM problems generally with SQL Server or just in the cloud? I use them for automated tests and Sandboxing, but for nothing else.



Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
Post #1430883
Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 1:29 PM


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Phil Factor (3/14/2013)
Agreed. Cloud VMs are fine for doing testing but I'd only recommend this where you need a lot of grunt for a short period, and you haven't the necessary local infrastructure (Windows Server 2012 makes it so much easier). There is a wonderful comment about hosting production databases in the cloud in the book 'Bad Data Handbook'. Chapter 14 'The Myths of Cloud Computing'.

Do you hit VM problems generally with SQL Server or just in the cloud? I use them for automated tests and Sandboxing, but for nothing else.


My problems with VM aren't the VM itself... usually. Some joker decides to not use raw as the storage or something and I start flinging nerf darts at them from across the room, but it's more the abstraction.

We study and learn to get closer and closer to the core system, how the counters work and how the data is manipulated and how NUMA flows through a chip... and then put ten layers of colored saran wrap between us and them. At least locally I theoretically have people who can peel off their layers. Get into a cloud architecture and you're left without much recourse other than doing what I would have wanted to do in the first place... get it off their hosting and bring it in house.

At 3 AM in the morning, trying to dig past all the VM components on top of server concerns to figure out what is ACTUALLY the problem is one of the most frustrating events in my administrative career, particularly when everyone (me included) are playing a game of hot potato trying to prove 'It's not MY stuff!'... which is why I can't get access to the fiber channel settings on the SAN as much as I can't get the tool that'll show me when the VMs ripped away four of the eight cores I was supposed to have permanently. The more we move towards VM, the less I ever want to go back to administrating and concentrate on the data architecture/development roles.

I don't care if it's not my fault as much, but it just gets stupid trying to troubleshoot it after a certain point of abstraction.

Now throw in the cloud and hosting services. Yeah *waves*, Good Luck with that. I'm out. I've got what appears to be a CPU throttle. Go check all your hardware and settings and come back to me and tell me if it's something I should be worried about... and WHY.

I realize this is a bit of a rant, but it's a constant frustration for me. Most places max out a machine (Blade, pick your name) for its SQL Server anyway. Why the heck does it need to be VM? Unhook the saran wrap, wire up the machine directly, put another one next door, and I'll happily active/active cluster for you. If you can get me off the SAN and I can directly setup my spindles that'll just make my day, too.



- Craig Farrell

Never stop learning, even if it hurts. Ego bruises are practically mandatory as you learn unless you've never risked enough to make a mistake.

For better assistance in answering your questions | Forum Netiquette
For index/tuning help, follow these directions. |Tally Tables

Twitter: @AnyWayDBA
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