THE BLOG

What Happens When Cloud Goes Wrong?

04/11/2014 14:02 GMT | Updated 04/01/2015 10:59 GMT

It's a well known fact that technical things will go wrong, although of course this doesn't stop consumers becoming increasingly frustrated when services they pay hard-earned money to use fail.

This year has seen goliaths such as Google, Samsung and Dropbox suffer high-profile down periods which were amplified by users on social media. Despite this the cloud is quickly becoming the norm as the amount of data migrated into it increases - even our health data is now being stored remotely. So, with consumers and businesses more reliant on cloud computing than ever before, what happens if it goes wrong?

Why does it always rain on me?

Cloud outages are usually solitary occurrences, so if iCloud was to fail your Microsoft products wouldn't be affected, for example. However, a hypothetical 'cloud Armageddon' would be catastrophic. The average household would lose access to everything from entertainment facilities to basic internet connection, while businesses would struggle to function at even the most basic levels. It would be the technology version of a zombie apocalypse.

The most worrying element of this for consumers is there's very little they can do to protect themselves against vast levels of cloud failure, other than researching the providers they decide to purchase tech from and hoping for the best. Of course, consumers can back-up their data physically as well as remotely, although this would simply ensure information isn't lost in a worst case scenario. The responsibility lies with the businesses who need to do all they can to ensure their cloud offerings don't fail.

Data centres - the unsung hero

To ensure consumers are never left stranded in the dark ages, businesses use data centres to minimise the risks associated with hosting vast amounts of public data. Of course, data centres are susceptible to failure and any provider which says it has never had an outage of any sort is either too new to have a track record of isn't training its staff to be honest.

However, high quality data centres have systems in place to ensure back-up structures automatically kick in when an outage occurs so any services relying on this data don't suffer any downtime. With the vast range of connections and structures which combine within data centres, providers are continuously asking "what will happen is this element fails?" to ensure that consumers can continue checking their emails on remote devices or streaming films online without interruption.

It's this responsibility which makes data centres the unsung hero of the technology world as without them it's likely these rare, high profile outages would happen much more frequently. So, next time you're downloading a movie, monitoring your bank accounts online and backing up your data simultaneously, take a moment to think about the data centres behind it all.