Cloud Dependency – Get to know your cloud provider

So, as some of you know, our website at Optimal IdM went down this past week.  We like many companies, have our site hosted with Go Daddy, the world’s largest hostname provider.  Well, something drastic happened (we still don’t have a clue what it was) to our site late Wednesday evening.  It was quickly detected Thursday morning, and after several calls to Go Daddy support, we got nowhere.  We figured it would be back up quickly and decided to “wait it out”.  That was the plan until early Friday morning when there seemed to be no progress on the sites return and no information from their support, so we quickly stood up an alternate site on one of our other domains virtualidentityserver.com, and re-routed all of our HTTP traffic over to the new site with content we had backed up.  This allowed us within an hour or so to return to a partially functioning website.  As I write this blog, it has now been over 5 days, and the site has still not been completely restored.  Which has left me asking the following question:

Q:  What exactly does 99.9% guaranteed uptime mean (for Go Daddy)?

A:  For Go Daddy, it means that if they don’t provide the 99.9% uptime in a given month, you can ask for a 5% credit for that month.  I don’t know exactly what we are paying on a monthly basis, but that equals chump-change.  It also means that they could be down for the ENTIRE month and you are only eligible for the same 5% credit.  That’s a great business model if you ask me.

Then it hit me.  One of the very weapons that we use to complete with larger competitors (such as Oracle)  is the fact that we are nimble and able to move quickly and provide personal attention.  Bug fixes and enhancements can be measured in days, not quarters or years.  For the big vendors, the customers are nothing more than a number and they don’t really care about any one clients issues or problems.  Since the first day we started Optimal IdM, our mission was to take care of the customer by providing the personalized attention and details.  I think this has worked out extremely well over the course of our business life and can be reflected through our customers experiences.

The moral of this story is to get to know your cloud provider (or any other technology vendor for that matter).  Know their processes for support and know the guarantees.  Kick the tires a bit before you buy, and most of all talk to their customers before you sign up to understand what the experience is like.  After all, word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet.

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