I couldn't believe it recently when Google appeared to be down. I happened to be searching for something one morning and Google was slow to come up. And when I got the results, I clicked on the first one, which needed the Googleapi.com server for some data and it wouldn't load the page.
After a few minutes I realized Google was having major issues. They weren't down, but their site, and many others that depend on them, were essentially unusable. My workday was pretty shot for online work, but fortunately I always have a number of things I can do offline that keep my busy.
It did get me thinking about cloud services, and this push to move things out into the world away from our direct control. That is more efficient, allowing someone to focus on providing one service very well, say a web hosting service, and freeing up one task from you (or your company). This has worked fairly well in some cases, not so well in others.
There's a lot of fear and concern over doing this with databases, and I completely understand it. We have some work to do before we can entrust many of our databases to a third party. But the web hosting model has worked well, and there are lots of companies that do host their databases with someone else. This cloud computing model just changes the way we access the data.
My biggest concern, however, is that as companies like Google grow, and they standardize their infrastructure, small issues can quickly become major problems. What happens when a bad router patch, or GoogleOS patch is deployed? Are millions of companies without data or services?
At some point this becomes an issue, and while it's easy to say that the user has to beware, there also comes a point where someone is a bit of a monopoly, and has responsibilities to the public. I'm not sure how I'd want this handled, but I do know that a loss of Google, or a crippling issue in a Windows patch, has more than just the reputation and finances of a company at stake. It could seriously hamper the entire world.
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