Google Finance Down Earlier Today

It appeared that Google Finance was down for at least half an hour (from before 9:30 EST till after 10:00 EST) today. I captured this screen-shot during the outage:

Google Finance Error

Google Finance Error

This is just the latest one of a string of high-profile outages from large corporations like Google (here’s an other outage less than two months ago) and Microsoft (this outage was on July 3, due to fire at a data center in Seattle).

It certainly does not bode well for those who tout cloud computing. While in theory, larger cloud service providers like Google and Microsoft have the resources and capabilities to make their cloud services much more reliable. In practice, it doesn’t help when the services are down at the most unfortunate time when you need them the most.

I could see some benefits of using cloud computing in some non-essential business scenarios, but I doubt that any business would shift its core applications into the cloud. The reason is quite simple: For the bread-and-butter business applications, we need to know with confidence when the system will be down. When you host your own application, even if you don’t have control over everything (e.g. hardware failure) you at least can control when you implement changes. So while your applications might not be up 99% of the time, you could carefully plan the outage windows for the necessary maintenances to minimize any side effects to the normal business operations.

Of course, there are many other reasons why companies should not en-thrust their core businesses to the cloud. Some of the reasons are physical (e.g. a web service call will always be magnitudes slower than a in-process function call. And Internet speed will always be slower than intranet and significantly slower than memory speed), and some are philosophical. Like Richard Stallman once put it:

“One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control. It’s just as bad as using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else’s web server, you’re defenseless. You’re putty in the hands of whoever developed that software.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply