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Cloud Pilots? Anyone can drive a car, pilots fly planes. Clouds?

Level 3

I noticed an interesting tweet today from Rachel Dines @Forester. It quoted Carl Meadows @SungardAS. 


"Common misconception: cloud solves our sys admin problems. Wrong! Cloud requires more skilled sys admins." 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I drive down 101 to Mountain View from SF.  Each day someone gets in a fender bender and traffic continues around them. Sure, life is disrupted but it's par for the course. Sometimes car accidents happen. As I drive south I also pass under SFO. Each day 100s of planes take off. The expectation is that these planes will almost never have an accident. They are piloted by highly trained pilot while the car on 101 is piloted by someone like you and me. 

Cars are like servers.  Planes are like Clouds. 

  • When a plane crashes the media shows up at the scene, the bloggers speculate. Investigators start to look for the cause. Lawyers start to look for liability. Business is fully disrupted and some consumers will totally stop flying for a period of time. 
  • When a car crashes, we pay little attention even though this happens far more frequently than plane crashes. Generally these accidents are lower stakes and involve minor property damage. Life goes on and getting where you need to go is a risk we are willing to take on a daily basis. 

Does this sound like the way the world treats your common run of the mill server recovery vs. cloud outage? 


Cloud Pilots Needed 

Given the stakes it seems like a new breed of sysadmin, backup admin, IT professional is developing as well.  When protecting a cloud the stakes are much higher. A cloud outage (cloutage?) could bring massive volumes of data down for many many customers creating a scenario similar to a plane crash. The operators of private clouds and public clouds have a lower tolerance for outage than our typical server and application.  A cloutage could be catastrophic when it impact the operations of the businesses that rely on it. I saw another tweet recently that mentioned CASH RESERVES are a significant component of a disaster recovery strategy for a customer who has been impacted by a cloud outage.  With the stakes increasing the IT profession is being asked to send it's best and brightest to flight school. 

I'm curious, how does the community feel preparedness is for these larger private cloud and public cloud environments?  

Are organizations taking the proper data protection steps and high availability steps needed to protect mission critical apps in the cloud? As the cloud? itself?

Are folks rolling their own?  AKA replicating the data and hoping they don't ever need to recover it? Or, building other recovery models?

Regardless, I think that the data protection profession will grow in importance as more and more of our worlds resources take the form of information.  The only questions is what will this new breed of professions be called?   Cloud Pilots?

Let's get a good discussion going. The industry needs great people and great technology working together if we want the cloud to fly confidently.


- Sean