What happen when the Cloud Goes Away?

The Cloud comes with many benefits but it also presents its own set of challenges and cautions.  With the ability to easily scale and the low or no barrier for entry there is always the position that what is here today will be gone tomorrow.  It is not just the fly by night start ups that IT Leaders should be worried about either look no further than Microsoft and HTC announcing the closure of two Cloud Services from their stables.

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In the case of Microsoft, their service Office Live Small Business will be replaced by Office 365 and operations of the Office Live Small Business solution will end on May 1, 2012.  This has been a long time coming and is not a matter of a provider surprising its customers with a closure but it does go to show that no matter the size of the company, the impact of a shift or a new product line can mean the death of a service that was key to an organization’s Cloud Strategy.

In looking at what the OLSB product was and what is offered by Office 365, there is a bit of problem with the two products as there is not an equal comparison as far as what is included with the services:

OLSB Services Pricing
Web site design tools and hosting Microsoft Office Live Basics: Free
Domain name registration and business e-mail Microsoft Office Live Essentials: $19.95/month
Contact Manager Microsoft Office Live Premium: $39.95/month
Document Manager
Team Workspace
Resources and support  

The replacement, Office 365 does not bring the same capabilities and for the estimated 600,000 users of Office Live Small Business this is a real challenge:

Office 365

E1 $9.50CAD per U/M

E2$16.50CAD per U/M

E3 $24.50CAD per U/M

E4 $27.00CAD per U/M

Advanced administration capabilities, Active Directory integration and 24/7 support

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Email, calendar, contacts, personal archive, and 25 GB mailbox storage with Exchange Online

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Sites to share documents and information with SharePoint Online

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Instant messaging, presence and online meetings with Lync Online

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Premium antivirus and anti-spam filtering for email and sites with Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange

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License rights to access on-premises deployment of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server and Lync Server

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View, edit and share content created in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote desktop applications online with Office Web Apps

 

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Complete and full-featured set of Office productivity applications with Office Professional Plus

 

 

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Sites with advanced capabilities for rich forms, enhanced data visualization with Visio Services, and publishing of simple databases through Access Services with SharePoint Online

 

 

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Advanced archive capabilities, unlimited email storage, and hosted voicemail with Exchange Online

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Enterprise voice capabilities to replace or enhance a PBX with Lync Server on-premises

 

 

 

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Is Office 365 a superior product…I think that is without question but to say that Office 365 does what Office Live Small Business does is not quite fair either as even the FREE Basic Version allowed you to gain access to a full domain and professional web hosting services for a Small Business Website, that is not included when you make the forced move over to Office 365.

Microsoft is making the offer that all of their paying customers on the OLSB service will get access to the Office 365 for Professionals and Small Businesses FREE for 6 months but after that it will run $7.00 CAD per user per month and from what I can see, the only thing that it does not include is the domain.

On the HTC side of things, the HTC Sense Cloud Storage service will cease operations on April 30,

2012 so for all you Android HTC users out there…download your data or you stand to lose it permanently (there will not be any future option to retrieve it).

Until the new services are ready, features previously available on HTCSense.com will be shutting down. If you have been using HTCSense.com to sync your Contacts, Messages, Footprints or Call History, you can download your data through April 30, 2012. After April 30, your data will no longer be accessible and will be deleted.

So if two large and powerful company’s are not able to maintain the continuity of a Cloud Service how can we expect that any other of the of the 100s of new services coming out almost daily to survive even if there is good uptake on the usage?  And what happens when it is not just the service that closes down but the company just disappears?  I was able to locate an interesting white paper that was compiled by Attorney David S Caplan back in the infancy of the Cloud in August 2010 that looks at just that question.

I can’t say that the Cloud is bad because it has a lot of advantages but I strongly recommend to a full Risk Analysis if you are placing all or any of your mission critical services into the Public Cloud.

Well Today begins anew, spring seems to have returned after a chilly reminder that it is still March here in Southern Ontario.

Cheers,

Chris J Powell

Posted on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

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