Friday, April 22, 2011

The Amazon's lesson on Cloud Computing

Read about this article in today's New York Times: Amazon’s Trouble Raises Cloud Computing Doubts. The difficulties EC2 has come across impacted many business on their platform.

In my view, fault tolerance is still the key concern for big companies with critical data. That's the reason that despite the overwhelming platforms and applications based on MapReduce day by day, big banks or retailers still prefers traditional data warehouses such as Teradata, as it provides more safety for their data storage (another important reason is the strong query optimization and efficient data analytics).

In the long run, I believe failures will be handled better and better for the Cloud Computing and MapReduce technologies. We have seen the same path for online trading platforms: when they're coming out initially, system breaks here and there. But after several years, almost all people are doing their trades online. The current difficulities with Cloud and MapReduce will also go away as time goes on. Traditional data warehouse companies also believe in this. Teradata, DB2, Exadaa, GreenPlum,... all of them are investigating, or already proposed some hybrid models combining cloud and MapReduce into their product.

For now, it's still strongly recommended that business should maintain some backup system/storage on their own, before the cloud is resilient enough. And for the cloud service providers such as Amazon, they should give higher priority to fault tolerance system design. If they cannot provide 24/7 at this time, at least they should make the recovery more quickly and transparent to customers. In the current event, the impact has lasted two days. This is just way toooo bad.

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