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Get your cleats on

When you start using cleats that attach the biking shoes to the pedals, it is not unusual that you fall down at least once in a way that looks glamorously silly: you stop at traffic lights, forget that your legs are attached to the bike and just tumble down sideways.

The cloud computing platform du jour, Windows Azure, had quite severe issues a while ago due to the leap day – time is a single point of failure that you really cannot eliminate. Office 365 has been mockingly called Office 364 due to uptime issues. And to be fair, other cloud computing service providers such as Amazon and Google also have had their share of outages.

These are still just the first steps and tumbles of an emerging technology. This does not mean that these qualms are acceptable or not embarrassing, or that they should not be criticized. However, history suggests that the greatest leaps often have inherent potential for failures of epic proportions. Just refer to CERN or NASA, who have exhibited exquisite failures in other technological domains.

When you use cleats, you get significantly more pedaling power since you can use muscles also when moving the leg upwards. Especially you can generate a lot of power in bursts when accelerating or ascending steeply.

The behavior of the Internet and the citizens is most unpredictable. The web site for the Center of Disease Control went down, not due to an actual emergency, but when they published their zombie preparedness guide. There are numerous stodgier examples of these out of the blue traffic rushes and in some cases the temporarily unattainable information could be essential, even vital. And nowadays you really cannot boast on the popularity of a site using the fact that your servers cannot handle the load: most web developers can create a site that crashes under even moderate load. Comparing on-premise and cloud is somewhat like comparing car and air traffic accidents: the headlines are about airplane crashes because of their magnitude even though the most dangerous parts in a trip are the car drives to and from the airport. Similarly, it is probable that sites are more safe at the cloud, but outages of traditional hosting operations are distributed and hidden.

Of course, you could train your muscles to achieve the same effect that you get from cleats, but they cost twenty euros. In a high-end environment, such as Tour de France, no one even dares to imagine not using cleats.

Cloud sites we do.

Matias Ärje
Director, Cloud Solutions
The author wrote his first commercial software application at the age of eleven and uses also non-metaphorical cleats.


02.05.2012  Vesa Tiirikainen  
Nice story, and good reasons for using the Cloud.
Your comparison of on-premise solutions - not to name single computers - and cloud to cars and airplanes is basically ok, but the reason for talking much more about cloud failures or airplane crashes is much more simple. Car or single computer failures happen at least thousands of times every day, but cloud failures or commercial airplane crashes are very rare, perhaps happening only a couple of times a year and then even serious media raise these into their top news regardless of how much damage has been caused to people.

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