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Certificate Expiry Leads to Total Outage For Microsoft Azure Secured Storage

timothy posted about a year ago | from the keeping-the-lights-on dept.

Cloud 176

rtfa-troll writes "There has been a worldwide (all locations) total outage of storage in Microsoft's Azure cloud. Apparently, 'Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday, triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers,' according to the San Francisco Chronicle (also Yahoo and the Register). Perhaps too much time has been spent sucking up to storage vendors and not enough looking after the customers? This comes directly after a week-long outage of one of Microsoft's SQL server components in Azure. This is not the first time that we have discussed major outages on Azure and probably won't be the last. It's certainly also not the first time we have discussed Microsoft cloud systems making users' data unavailable."

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Lolwut? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988913)

What's an expirty?

Re:Lolwut? (5, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#42988955)

I think you get them from storage vendros

Re:Lolwut? (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42988981)

Vendro is Destro's cousin, who works on the supply side.

Re:Lolwut? (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#42989181)

Look, if Destro is selling expirtys in my neighbourhood, then I want a slice!

Re:Lolwut? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989579)

Which part of "Microsoft product" did you not understand?

Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988915)

How does Timothy fuck up so many words? Especially ones in the title?? Expirty? What the fuck is that? Seriously.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989023)

Hey I heard of a psychic experiment. They had a bunch of volunteers focus their minds on reducing crime in Washington DC. It worked!

The amazing thing is a bunch of niggers didn't suddenly disappear.

And even those niggers can spell EXPIRY. Fuck these dumbass low-quality so-called "editors". They can suck my dick. Yeah "editors" use your infinite mod points on this post. At least that's something you can do correctly, unlike your fucking JOB.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989041)

How does Timothy fuck up so many words?

Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest explanation is: because he's an incompetent, stupid cunt who can't do basic things correctly.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989289)

The cynical explanation is it produces more posts in a story.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1, Redundant)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year ago | (#42989345)

if you don't like slash dot then fuck off and leave it to those of us who do like it, and don't mod this up because it s off-topic

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989417)

if you don't like slash dot then fuck off and leave it to those of us who do like it, and don't mod this up because it s off-topic

You seem pretty well qualified to become an editor.

Re: Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989811)

Mod this faggot down.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989821)

I'm the guy you replied to. I do like slashdot and I think it's a great site, ergo I expect a lack of errors an 8th grader would be able to avoid.

Chill out anal mouse.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42990243)

How does Timothy fuck up so many words?

Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest explanation is: because he's an incompetent, stupid cunt who can't do basic things correctly.

if you don't like slash dot then fuck off and leave it to those of us who do like it, and don't mod this up because it s off-topic

We like Slashdot, that's why we're here. What many of us don't like are incompetent, stupid cunts. We also don't like incompetent, stupid cunts messing up things we like (e.g., Slashdot).

We're trying to improve aspects of things we like (Slashdot) by pointing out the parts of it that are not optimal (Timothy as an editor). This is often called constructive criticism.

Re:Does Timothy Have Brain Damage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989629)

The simplest explanation is: because he's an incompetent, stupid cunt who can't do basic things correctly.

Every browser/OS combination except Windows includes spellcheckers. It looks like he's dumb enough to use a Microsoft OS as well.

Expirty? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988917)

Timothy!! It's your fucking JOB!

Blew their support contracts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988921)

I guess that azure cloud was just a sunset.

Re:Blew their support contracts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988953)

It's all clear skies, where do you want to go today ?

Re:Blew their support contracts.. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#42989135)

Uh, I want to go to my cloud. Where's my cloud? I need my cloud.

WAAAHHH!!! SOMEONE STOLE MY CLOUD!!!

Re:Blew their support contracts.. (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#42989235)

Finally the Microsoft Blue Screen of Death has made into the new mobile cloud age.

I mean the Azure Screen of Death, excuse me Mr. Ballmer.

Re:Blew their support contracts.. (4, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | about a year ago | (#42989261)

The Blue Sky of Cloud Death

Somebody (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988927)

Had better get fired. I normally don't condone firing over mistakes, but this is pretty huge.

Although, it's also a point of proof of the cloud's inability to be reliable if not set up right.

Re:Somebody (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989105)

Had better get fired.

Yes, that somebody should be Timothy. He should be fired for gross incompetence and negligence of his job responsibilities.

Hey, in this economy there are lots of people who would happily do a much better job of editing. Employment is a buyer's market right now. Why put up with such incompetence when you don't have to?

Re:Somebody (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989313)

Because he's an expirt.

Re:Somebody (1, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year ago | (#42989123)

uh, this was user error.
Caused by either corporate inadequacies in procedure, documentation, or checks of their systems. Or a corporate system designed to say "this isnt my problem".
Somehow I feel those worker visas are the issue here. Inexperience causes user errors, users administrate these large cloud systems, cloud configurations are complex and take years to master, yet cloud systems are a service provided by the lowest common denominator.
Corporate brilliance at its best.

Re:Somebody (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#42989221)

So you are saying that MS is the lowest common denominator. I guess you can say that again.

Re:Somebody (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989377)

Somehow I feel those worker visas are the issue here.

Anything else you'd like to blame on foreigners?

Declining population of ducks in the local pond?
Chips no-longer served in old newspaper?
Lack of respect for elders?
Banning of blackboards in schools?
Rampant rape and violence all foreigners bring to your little Daily Mail reading village?

Re:Somebody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989587)

Atleast half of that kind of stuff is traditionally (for atleast 2000 years) blamed on those corrupted, worthless youth.

Re: Somebody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989833)

Foreigners, on the majority, are far less skilled and experienced than natural born americans. They fuck things up a lot. I can't even have a phone conversation with one most of the time and you're lucky if they ever follow through with what they say they'll do. It's fucking sad when we make purchasing decisions based on the demographics of the help desk associated with the product.

Re:Somebody (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#42989563)

Right and I think this is an important aspect to the problem here.

There is simply no substitute for having all your I's dotted and T's cross with large integrated systems like this. This is a culture problem not a individual screwed up problem. If you just fire the guy, there will be lots of awareness but the take away most of your remaining people will get is "don't forget to check the certificate expiry dates, that'll get you canned" many of them traumatized by the experience will dutifully check certificate dates for the rest of their careers but this will do nothing to prevent your next major outage; because that will almost certainly be the result of something else.

Everyone is pushing this vitalization + "dev ops" + management/monitoring is going to let us have one admin do what was once the work of ten. The fact is it just does not work like that. Management/monitoring like Microsoft Mom for example requires you to have all the failure modes identified and the scripts written to check conditions like expiry dates and trigger the alerts. Unless everyone is really good about all the routine maintenance tasks in there is won't help with something like this. That takes time you ONE admin has not got and discipline that breaks down when someone is overworked.

The "dev ops" and vitalization stuff is all great in terms of how much can be automated. Someone has to develop that automation though. Your ONE guy does not have time to build and test his generic deployment scrip when you promised your customers you'd have their infrastructure stood up last week.

It comes down to the business recognizing its important to have good people, enough people, and willingness to invest in making sure the job is done correctly and completely every time, and that documentation is maintained and in a way everyone knows how to use it. Check lists need to be kept and followed etc. IT got away from plant engineering style discipline when hardware got cheap. You know longer had to worry about that one computer you had failing. As we move back to more consolidated and integrated solutions; management is going to have to get used to the idea again that there is some people time investment that must be made. Its great you can save on power, cooling equipment, and headcount but you can't cut headcount to far because the more consolidated you get the less you can afford for anything to go wrong so it all must be check, doubled checked, and checked again just to be sure. This is if you do it yourself or if you pay your cloud provider to do it. Either way cloud services so far have been mostly a race to the bottom and that is going to cause some to have to learn some very painful lessons if the industry remains on its current trajectory.

Re:Somebody (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#42989201)

It seems to be a point of poof...

Re:Somebody (5, Insightful)

Glendale2x (210533) | about a year ago | (#42989225)

Eh, don't put anything too important that you can't live without on systems outside of your control.

Re:Somebody (5, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#42989635)

On the other hand, I've worked at places where the worst thing you could do is leave things that the company can't live without *in* the control of the company. Sometimes certain areas of expertise require specializations that the company just doesn't have and isn't interested in acquiring. Of course handing the responsibility of those things off to *Microsoft* is not necessarily any better.

Re:Somebody (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989835)

Why is it every time there's a simple mistake or somebody overlooks something and the only result is a bit of inconvenience, there's people clamoring for someone's career to be ruined? Seriously, it's childish.

Anybody who trusts their data to "the cloud" needs to understand that this can happen.

Spellcheck... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988931)

... does anyone use it? There's several typographical errors in this post. See if you can find them all!

Re:Spellcheck... (4, Funny)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year ago | (#42988973)

Maybe rtfa-troll and Timothy's spell checkers were hosted on Azure.

Re:Spellcheck... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989097)

Nah, inventing abbreviations is Twitter license.

Re:Spellcheck... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989293)

vendros anyone?

Re:Spellcheck... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989325)

The funny thing about spell check is that it is damn near ubiquitous. I mean heck; I am typing this in Chrome and it spell checks. Firefox checks spelling too. If I type something in a word processor (made by darn near anyone) it automatically spell checks also. I'm on Windows right now - the only thing that doesn't check spelling is notepad. I'm pretty sure people aren't typing their posts in notepad and then pasting them into a web form. Maybe they are typing them in Internet Explorer - the only major browser that doesn't spell check?

Re:Spellcheck... (0)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#42989599)

Are you suggesting that /. Editor commuted the unpardonable sin of using ie!

Re:Spellcheck... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989703)

Spellcheck...

ITYM Spelling Checker.

Expirty? Vendros? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42988935)

The spell check is strong with this one.

Re:Expirty? Vendros? (0)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year ago | (#42988995)

The spell check is strong with this one.

Apparently not.

Typical. (5, Funny)

berchca (414155) | about a year ago | (#42988963)

Not the first time they've made such blunders:
http://slashdot.org/story/03/11/06/1540257/microsoft-forgets-to-renew-hotmailcouk

If only Redmond had some sort of calendar system to help them remember this stuff.

Re:Typical. (4, Funny)

Stormthirst (66538) | about a year ago | (#42988983)

Does MS not have a credit card its vendor can keep on file?

Re:Typical. (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#42989277)

You'd think that, but there's contract stuff. The thing is, you basically need a department in charge of renewing shit like this when you have enterprise level services. We've got a site with millions of hits daily and still manage to let it expire every couple of years. You try the credit card thing, but credit cards expire. You try recurring billing and then you get into a contractual nightmare with the registrar. The registrar isn't going to do you any favors, you might get millions of hits daily, but they still only get $5/year even from google.com so fuck you, figure out the billing yourself.

The only real way to do it effectively is build yourself a database of all the crap you need to renew regularly, then hire someone to renew that stuff. But who are you going to hire? It usually ends up being some assistant that doesn't know a damned thing about tech... and it's still going to cost you $60k a year in pay and bennifits to retain them. That's an expensive way of keeping track of such things... ah, the website admins can remember right?

Re:Typical. (1)

chrism238 (657741) | about a year ago | (#42989603)

"...and it's still going to cost you $60k a year in pay and bennifits to retain them."

Sure, but this incident, alone, has probably generated more than $60K of negative publicity for Azure. Gotta get the basics right first.

Re:Typical. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989845)

Just do what we do. When you register anything that can expire you make a meeting request reminder and send it out to every IT guy in the company. While it's still usually one person's job to do the renewal you have a reminder for everyone in case it slips via personnel changes.

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42990205)

It's not about what it costs when it works. It's about the cost when it goes wrong. It may only be worth a couple of bucks to a registrar, but it certainly is worth more to you, isn't it? So get someone on the job and have someone else check that he's doing it.

Re:Typical. (4, Interesting)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#42988999)

It is almost a year ago to the day Azure was down for a day because no one accounted for leap year for validating certificates, lol. AWS seems to have issues too, but they don't seem to revolve around blatant stupidity and result in an entire day of downtime.

Re:Typical. (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#42989179)

M$ has a history of lack of customer focus hence it will fail ay any industry that demand the highest levels of customer focus. For cloud services to be down for a down is inexcusable and seriously any IT management staff that fails to acknowledge these failures and uses or recommends Azure should be fired. Any down time should be measured in minutes not days, this should be considered catastrophic failure. M$ is far to used to it's EULA's a warranty without a warranty and has become woefully complacent about actually guaranteeing a supply of service, meh, it mostly works it their motto and we'll fix it net time round, for sure this time.

Re:Typical. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989751)

M$

You know that makes anyone with half a brain stop taking you seriously right? You managed to make everyone but trolls and freetards stop reading your post with the first 2 characters. Good job.

Re:Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42990321)

You know that makes anyone with half a brain stop taking you seriously right? You managed to make everyone but trolls and freetards stop reading your post with the first 2 characters. Good job.

It's as if he were standing in a park, with his penis out, wondering why parents won't allow him to share his road safety tips with their children? Hey kids! *waves penis* Don't be listening to your Crapple iPhoneys when crossing the road! *waves penis*

Tip of the iceberg (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#42988997)

If you can't trust Microsoft for such kind of small but essential things, should you trust them with bigger ones?

Re:Tip of the iceberg (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about a year ago | (#42989311)

For me the confusing thing is that there was a single point of failure. I thought that much of what the cloud was about was resilience; I would expect that someone designing cloud infrastructure would have done an analysis of failure points, and implemented failover mechanisms (or at least monitoring and recovery procedures). Ok, maybe not a cloud-startup-du-jour, but certainly a big enterprise-style entity like Microsoft.

Re:Tip of the iceberg (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#42989499)

The reality is, if you outsource your hosting to a single company, there will always be single points of failure.

There will be architectural ones, like root of trust expiring resulting in security framework taking everything down.

There will be bugs that can bite all of their instances in the same way at the same time.

There will be business realities like failing to pay electric bills, or collapsing, or simply closing down their hosting business for the sake of other business interests.

Ideally:
-You must keep ownership of all data required to set up anywhere at all time. Even if you host nothing publicly yourself, you must assure all your data exists on storage that you own.
-You either do not outsource your hosting (in which case your single point of failure business wise would take you out anyway) or else you outsource to financially independent companies. "Everything to EC2" is a huge mistake, just as much as "everything to azure" is a huge mistake.
-Never trust a providers security promises beyond what they explicitly accept liability for. If you consider the potential risk to be "priceless", then you cannot host it. If you do know what your exposure is (e.g. you could be sued for 20 million, then only host it if the provider will assume liability to the tune of 20 million)

Still don't get it.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989007)

Expirtyce is misspelled but I still don't get how a bunch of experts caused an outage.

Re:Still don't get it.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989347)

Very droll. I love it.

Interesting (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#42989029)

I wonder what color the error screen was?

Perhaps it was... Azure?

I choose you Expirty! (-1, Offtopic)

dicobalt (1536225) | about a year ago | (#42989067)

He is a new time traveling Pokémon.

12 hours to update the certs? (5, Informative)

crt (44106) | about a year ago | (#42989069)

The really amazing thing is that if you look at their service dashboard, it took them 12 hours to update the certificates on their site:
http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/service-dashboard/ [windowsazure.com]

They spent several hours doing "test deployments" ... while it's great to make sure you aren't going to make something worse, updating an SSL cert isn't exactly rocket science. I'd had to see how long it took to recover from a more serious service issue triggered by a software bug.

Clueless Ballmer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989125)

There's an awful lot of BS'er in Microsoft these days. They'll have had a process manual written long ago. Someone will have been taught that following that manual is the definition of quality, and a load of BS middle managers will have been looking for any departure from the manual so they can pass blame over to someone else.

I could point a finger, but that's for the MS Board to do, and if they fail it's for the shareholders to intervene.

Re:12 hours to update the certs? (4, Funny)

Glendale2x (210533) | about a year ago | (#42989203)

Maybe they tried rolling back to an older version of the cert first.

(Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Re:12 hours to update the certs? (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#42989921)

Maybe they tried rolling back to an older version of the cert first.

No, first they would have tried reinstalling the current cert. Three times. Only then would they have moved on to rolling back to the prior version.

Re:12 hours to update the certs? (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42990271)

Maybe they tried rolling back to an older version of the cert first.

(Yes, that was sarcasm.)

You know, from their track record, I would consider this entirely possible....

Re:12 hours to update the certs? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989437)

Have you measured the time it takes to update certs, while dodging flying chairs?

I hate it when that happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989081)

You're dining in an expensive restaurant with family and out-of-town guests in tow. After a great meal you hand the waiter your credit card. Several minutes later, the man comes back and says

"Sorry sir, but your cloud server's security certificates have been declined."

Entwined failure loop... (4, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#42989129)

I wonder how long it will be before there's a major failure loop in the cloud, something like the certificate for cloud X is stored in service Y, which actually uses cloud X as its backend. So when certificate for X stops, the whole thing grinds to a halt with no way to restart it (unless backdoors)...

Re:Entwined failure loop... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42990249)

Hehehehehe, nice!

I expect we _will_ see things like this though.

Where do I pay? (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about a year ago | (#42989161)

Anyone have the link?

Then what the hell was this Slashdot article? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989175)

http://slashdot.org/story/13/02/21/2216221/microsoft-azure-overtakes-amazons-cloud-in-performance-test?sdsrc=prev

"Microsoft Azure's cloud outperformed Amazon Web Services in a series of rigorous tests conducted by Nasuni, a storage vendor that annually benchmarks cloud service providers (CSPs). Nasuni uses public cloud resources in its enterprise storage offering, so each year the company conducts a series of rigorous tests on the top CSPs' clouds in an effort to see which companies offer the best performing, most reliable infrastructure. Last year, Amazon Web Services' cloud came out on top, but this year Microsoft Azure outperformed AWS in performance and reliability measures. AWS is still better at handling extra-large storage volumes, while Nasuni found that the two OpenStack powered clouds it tested — from HP and Rackspace — were lacking, particularly at larger scales."

Outperforms in reliability, huh? bullshit

Re:Then what the hell was this Slashdot article? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989319)

That's why I didn't even bother with that article. Astroturf.

When Azure failed practically completely on Feb 29 not long ago you should already know the level of reliability Microsoft would provide.

I know people using Azure and they say it's a piece of shit and still a piece of shit. The CDN and blob stuff is ok, but any idiot can make that reliable. The rest of Azure is halfbaked crap.

Only use Azure if Microsoft pays you megabucks to do so.

Re:Then what the hell was this Slashdot article? (4, Funny)

multi io (640409) | about a year ago | (#42989469)

Outperforms in reliability, huh? bullshit

Of course it doesn't work, but look how fast it is!

Re:Then what the hell was this Slashdot article? (2)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about a year ago | (#42989879)

Azure is webscale? I never knew!

Ahhh.. the cloud (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#42989207)

An out of reach place where you give other people your stuff and hope they will hand it to you when you ask.
I don't want my head in the clouds.

Microsoft's Azure cloud (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#42989291)

Microsoft's Azure could!

When you depend on other people ... (3, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | about a year ago | (#42989297)

... this is what you get. Sure, it's possible the same thing can happen for any company. But at least then you can fire your incompetent staff.

Once you deploy to a vendor, you are stuck. From what I've seen, you can't easily move data and code from one vendor to another. One of our clients is in the UK Azure cloud and we have to BCP about 6M rows from their server to our system every week. Takes over 90 minutes, and constantly fails because of losing the connection. We've looked at deploying systems to various clouds, and the costs were not worth it.

I will NEVER put any critical business system in someone else's cloud. At worst, I might put it in someone's data center on *MY* servers. The cloud seems to be fine for small business startups and non-important data for personal use. Businesses who no one would even notice if their site was down for a day.

BTW .. 'Cloud' computing is just remote virtual servers over the Internet. It's really not something new and original. People act like it's some amazing new 'thing'. Well .. it's not. It's just another way of letting companies with limited or no tech skills put up a web site or store data. It's expensive, proprietary, and I doubt very cost effective in the long run.

Re:When you depend on other people ... (3, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#42989385)

Actually, there's a bit more to being "cloudy" than just virtual servers over the internet (indeed, they not even need be over the internet - you can have your own local cloud and many companies have internal clouds). Virtual servers over the internet is merely client/server. For a service to be "cloudy", generally it'll have attributes like HTTP (in other words, RESTful interfaces and each request being treated no different to the first request, in other words, the service doesn't hold state from request to request, just like with HTTP) and distributable. The main benefit of "cloudiness" is because of this you can easy scale up services when demand is high, and scale them back when demand is low. It makes it easier to make a resilient service than the traditional client/server type service where the server side has to keep state. Infrastructures like Amazon's EC2 allow you to scale things up and down easily and economically because you can turn on the "virtual server over the internet" part of it on and off very rapidly, and you only pay for the instances you've instatiated. But just using Amazon's EC2 doesn't automatically make your service "cloudy" if it does not have all the other necessary attributes.

Re:When you depend on other people ... (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#42989443)

"The main benefit of "cloudiness" is because of this you can easy scale up services when demand is high, and scale them back when demand is low."

Do you genuinely think this wasn't done until some marketdroid thought up the term "cloud"?

This is supposed to be a tech website FFS, at least pretend to have some sort of tech nous. Scaling available services up and down has been done since the days of fscking mainframes!

Re:When you depend on other people ... (2)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | about a year ago | (#42989817)

Yes and it was done by buying a shit ton of hardware and all the complexities and expenses that come with it. The problem is that 90% of the time that hardware was sitting around idle. Or that you would have to purchase a bunch of hardware for a one time project and then hope and pray that someone would buy that hardware from you when you were done. It doesn't take a tech website genius to realize how incredibly inefficient that is.

Re:When you depend on other people ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989863)

Once you deploy to a vendor, you are stuck. From what I've seen, you can't easily move data and code from one vendor to another.

RHEL is CentOS is RHEL is Amazon Linux wherever you are. A basic of the cloud is that, as you migrate to it you migrate almost everything to Linux.

One of our clients is in the UK Azure cloud and we have to BCP about 6M rows from their server to our system every week. Takes over 90 minutes, and constantly fails because of losing the connection. We've looked at deploying systems to various clouds, and the costs were not worth it.

There have been outages in Amazon; almost nothing has ever crossed from one Availability zone to another. Multiple countries have never happened. At the same time there have been many total outages in Azure. Whilst Microsoft regularly loses data; every time a Google system fails totally, it turns out they have a tape backup. These are not "minor issues between very simlar services"; these are the fundamental differences which matter. If you attempt to use a Yugo as a form of armoured transport and then get shot, you shouldn't start saying "all armoured vehicles are terrible". Instead you should go and look for a system which fits your needs.

I will NEVER put any critical business system in someone else's cloud. At worst, I might put it in someone's data center on *MY* servers. The cloud seems to be fine for small business startups and non-important data for personal use. Businesses who no one would even notice if their site was down for a day.

You are asking the wrong question I think. It's not "Jakes cloud vs. mine". Instead the question is; what is the distribution; what is the split. Systems all in my own data centre are unlikely to survive if the data centre is flooded. Systems all in the cloud are going to be impossible to reach if the internet fails. A proper engineering decision probably uses some of your own servers backed up with multiple independent Linux based clouds each with a different technology base. E.g. Amazon +Rack space (OpenStack) +a private eucalyptus + a few dedicated servers.

BTW .. 'Cloud' computing is just remote virtual servers over the Internet. It's really not something new and original. People act like it's some amazing new 'thing'. Well .. it's not. It's just another way of letting companies with limited or no tech skills put up a web site or store data. It's expensive, proprietary, and I doubt very cost effective in the long run.

This is a total misunderstanding. It is "remote virtual servers over the Internet" which can be created, destroyed or modified in a small number of minutes or seconds using a clearly defined API. That makes it possible to do a whole bunch of interesting things (duplicate your entire Amazon system to Rack Space in five minutes if the whole of Amazon collapses for some reason) which are not possible with older fixed servers. It also makes a whole load of different potential problems (someone who has your master key can delete all your servers in one command).

In the end cloud computing is just another a tool. Just like a huge circular saw [wkfinetools.com] , nothing it does is impossible with a hand saw. You could end up getting cut in half. However, if you need to regularly saw up huge number of trees, you may find you need one.

error protection (1)

GPierce (123599) | about a year ago | (#42989333)

Back in the bad old days, IBM had a solution for down time in mission critical systems - such as for United Airlines. It was called redundancy - a complete dual system. Or as we described it: when one of the two parallel systems detected an error, it automatically sent a signal to the second system so that it could go down too.

Re:error protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989899)

But all of the customers want everything cheap, Cheap, CHEAP! How are you supposed to provide a service for cheap if all of a sudden your costs are doubling?

Mind you, IBM never provided anything inexpensively.

Re:error protection (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42990241)

I think this design was also used in the first Ariane 5 flight! You know the one where 800 Million Euros in solar-research satellites went up in smoke, because some manager was too stupid to understand that you cannot just plug-in an Ariane 4 guidance module and expect it to work.

The system works! (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#42989335)

The system works! Certificates work! Yeah!

Now fire the idiot who forgot to update the certs and we can get on with life.

Re:The system works! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989941)

I hope the next time you make a mistake at your job, you are immediately fired. And if you leave the toilet seat up even once, your wife leaves you, taking the kids and half your shit. And if you go 1Mph over the speed limit, you are dragged from your car and summarily executed. What a wonderful world it would be, no?

Re:The system works! (2)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#42990225)

Yes, the single point of failure works!

But I thought "the cloud" wasn't supposed to have a single point of failure, otherwise it would be just a "remote server" rather than "the cloud"?

Monitoring Fail (3, Insightful)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | about a year ago | (#42989405)

I find it hard to believe anyone who maintains such a large fleet of services wouldn't have setup some sort of trivial monitoring (I know they own a product or two) that would include SSL Certificate expiration warning. 30+ days out, a ticket (or some sort of actionable tracking mechanism) should have been generated, alerting those responsible to start taking action. Said ticket should have become progressively higher severity as the expiration date loomed (meaning nothing had been updated), which in any sane company, would have implied higher and higher visibility.

That way, if an extensive test plan for such a simple operation was required, they had plenty of time to execute upon it and still not miss the boat.

Working with MS in other ways, and combined with both the lack of foresight and inability to act quickly, just shows that this sort of customer-forward thinking just doesn't exist inside the MS mind.

Re:Monitoring Fail (1)

ageoffri (723674) | about a year ago | (#42990015)

Believe it. When I worked at IBM, there was a certain automation team who let the critical SSL certificate for an ID provisioning tool expire not just once, but two years in a row causing a major outage to a large client.

Yea for cloud storage (0)

mrdogi (82975) | about a year ago | (#42989481)

Um, so why is The Cloud(tm) such a good idea?

Liability (2)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#42989551)

I guessMS somewhere in their licensing of this stuff have a clause that states they are not liable. Basically, 'bollocks to the Customers' when we fuck up [again].

So I cannot understand why people use them at all (once bitten, twice shy, twice bitten.. etc.).

Re:Liability (2)

FreelanceWizard (889712) | about a year ago | (#42989641)

Actually, Microsoft has a wide variety of SLAs with financial penalties covering the Azure cloud. I expect customers will be able to claim at least a 10% service credit on this, as it's definitely an issue within Microsoft's control and definitely would cause a miss of the monthly availability number.

Review http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/legal/sla/ [windowsazure.com] if you're interested in the Azure SLAs. Interestingly, Amazon has a much less tough SLA, as it's calculated on a yearly basis and doesn't have as brutal penalties (Amazon at most credits 10%; Microsoft credits up to 25%).

Re:Liability (1)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#42989695)

99.9% is stated there a lot of times. Is that over a 1000 years?

If not, that is about 1 day a year outage (when Customers go tits-up).

They are keeping their promise, it seems.

I've got the blues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989609)

lalalalaa feeling so azuuuuure

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#42989679)

Where there are clouds there is rain.

Re:Laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42989827)

RAIN: Redundant Array of Inexpensive Nincompoops
or Noncomputes, take your pick.

MS cloud services have been good to me (0)

ixnaay (662250) | about a year ago | (#42989963)

I probably need to find another website to chime in on my opinion on the subject (confirmation bias anyone?) but after working with skydrive (consumer cloud storage) and MS office 2013 (not the 365 subscription one, I can't address that). The pretty much seamless integration between the two, with native app support on a few platforms I use frequently (android, iOS, windows) as well as a pretty solid web based version of office for many other situations has been great for me. I haven't had any down time (probably happened - didn't affect me yet). Since it automatically syncs to local storage on as many platforms as you want, a dropout (short-term) wouldn't hurt too bad.

There are some downsides - only basic file system usage on Linux - can mount it R/W but that's about it. I spend about half my time doing tech work in the Linux world and the other half doing reporting, analysis, power point engineering and other administrative work in the windows world. I suggest anyone with a similar mix (or more slanted towards windows) give it shot. For much of my work none of the cloud services are secure enough for usage, so there are some limitations. I was using Google for these activities, and for me MS is the clear winner on this type of service.

So don't focus completely on the bad news with a dropout on a MS cloud service, and open your eyes a bit on their other progress on the user experience with consumer cloud services. You might be surprised. Or you might have your mind made up before you do.

I'm not a shill, I like all OSes from Windows to VxWorks - they ALL have their uses in the right environments depending on your needs.You may note I didn't crap on any of them.

Microsoft has it's own internal CA (3, Interesting)

ejoe_mac (560743) | about a year ago | (#42989999)

So wrong in so many ways. Any reason you wouldn't purchase a 100 year certificate and just roll with it? Too bad about 1/3 of all Azure disk space is used for endpoint backup. This reminds me of the leap-year calculating bug - Feb 29 2012, you couldn't generate a site because the default is to generate a certificate for 1 year, and well, Feb 29 2013 just doesn't exist. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/03/09/summary-of-windows-azure-service-disruption-on-feb-29th-2012.aspx [msdn.com]

Makes good business sense! (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42990219)

From a business perspective, it makes perfect sense: If Azure were reliable, secure and fast, customers could start to wonder why the other products by MS are not. This could heighten customer expectations, and that would be bad as MS really does not have the engineering capabilities to build, say, a good OS or a good office productivity suite and then customers may leave for the alternatives. So I applaud them for their foresight in making Azure just as bad as their other things are. This may actually be quite beneficial for their bottom-line.

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