Which cloud is the right cloud? It depends.

This year has been a rough year for the cloud. We’ve seen the biggest names including Amazon AWS, Google AppEngine and Microsoft Azure demonstrate the challenges in delivering on the promise of “always on” utility computing.  Imagine the world’s brightest engineers with massive budgets empowered to capture a piece of the $148 billion cloud market.  It’s definitely not for lack of effort and resources.  Nonetheless, we expect more.

In their defense, it’s not a trivial problem to run huge data centers worldwide running cloud services at the scale demanded by cloud customers worldwide.  What’s a CIO to do in evaluating her move to the cloud?  Should she wait while her competitors become more agile and deliver greater value to the business?  Any executive worth her Harvard MBA would be looking for data to increase clarity and confidence in moving forward.  Enter the Cloud Availability Grid (activate vertical scrolling muscles now).


We calculated the monthly availability year-to-date from our worldwide Radar measurements.  On a daily basis, there are some 800 million data points being collected from real users across 32,000 networks on a continuous basis. The “fail” threshold for falling below the acceptable green range is 97%. Here are a few “a-ha”s that we quickly noticed (I’m sure you’ll find more):

BRIC markets are struggling for good cloud coverage.  We recently detected that Amazon CloudFront has likely launched in Brazil.  But if you’re delivering a cloud-based service to Brazil, Russia, India or China, buyer beware.  The number of fails your users will experience will be noticeably more than they’re used to in other markets such the USA, Great Britain, and Japan.

Australia, but not all of Oceania, is well served by specific clouds. Amazon EC2 California, Rackspace, and GoGrid appear to provide consistently high availability to real users in the land down under.  However, other markets nearby such as Indonesia and Philippines do not enjoy nearly the same level of relatively higher availability.

Change is the only constant.  Interdependencies across optimizers, CDNs, Clouds, and Data Centers necessarily complicate the abilities to manage changes to guarantee a quality end-user experience.  Some markets in the Availability Grid show widely varying availability month-to-month even within the same cloud provider.

Cloud computing is evolving and new services are being released at an amazing clip. It’s impossible to expect any cloud to be the best everywhere at all times. The challenge is that your customers expect nothing but the best quality of service at all times wherever they are from their device of choice. With the right data in hand, choose the right cloud for the job and realize the benefits of the cloud before your competitor, and more importantly, before your users choose another service.  To a faster and more reliable cloud!