Microsoft Azure Shut Out Users Over Weekend - Should We Expect This from Cloud Computing?

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The promise of hosted application "cloud computing" platforms is the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the latest storm to obscure the promise of hosted applications hit its Windows Azure development platform last weekend. It was unavailable for 22 hours on March 13 and 14, eWeek reports .

It should be noted that Windows Azure, introduced at last October's Professional Developer's Conference (PDC), is still in its test phase. It's due to become generally available before the 2009 PDC in November, according to eWeek . Although it's still in testing, an essentially day-long outage isn't good news for Azure.

However, as we have pointed out here and here in reference to past Gmail and Google Apps outages, cloud computing in general is vulnerable to service disruption. Charles King, an analyst from PUND-IT Research quoted by eWeek , had this to say about the balance between cloud computing availability and price, referring to Amazon's hosted application platform:

At one point during the briefing, they [Amazon] said they’d guarantee 99.99 percent availability. Their comment was they believed a significant population of businesses didn’t want to pay the price for five-nines [99.999] capability.

So, how about it, developers and users? If you're currently using cloud computing apps and services, have you been significantly affected by service disruptions? Would you pay more for less downtime? If you're not on the cloud, how big a deal is the possibility of service disruptions to you? Hit Comment and sound off.

Windows Azure logo courtesy of Code-Inside.de .

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