Google becomes the latest member to the Cloud Outage club, with a near 6 hour outage rendering the whole infrastructure completely off line.
Google App Engine takes a different approach to Cloud Computing Resources than say the other infrastructure players (such as Amazon, GoGrid, FlexiScale, Mosso) by providing a language runtime with a specific set of API's to code to enable your application to live within the infinite resources of hosted space. Think of it like a complete virtual machine with none of the issues associated with server maintenance, scaling, network or backups.
Google are not the only players going down this road. SalesForce with their force.com and Microsoft with their Azure platform are making similar plays.
It all sounds great in theory, all of the upsides with none of the historical downsides of managing your own OS stack. However, it is the greatest cloud lock-in possible at the moment. Host your application on SalesForce, Microsoft or Google and you are effectively putting your businesses faith and trust in their hands. You have no choice. You have no ability to move. You are digitally handcuffed.
For some, this isn't a problem. However for others this is completely unacceptable. As Google's AppEngine illustrates, when they go dark, so do you.
Moving up the cloud stack you have to be extremely careful and make sure you are happy with the risks and your business can cope with such a reliance on a single player.
Utilising the players like Amazon EC2, Flexiscale, GoGrid etc, you can maintain a level of neutrality, building out redundancy and keeping a level of vendor independence. It's the one thing I preach over and over again at our Cloud Boot Camps.
This Thursday I will be London at the online gaming high scalability discussing the merits of cloud computing and how you can navigate successfully through the wide choice of vendors.
The best piece of advice is not to assume just because they are a big brand player they will never go down, but instead, practice for the time when they will most definitely go dark.
Then, and only then, will you successfully utilise the power cloud computing has to offer.