Can You Trust “Nested” Cloud Solution Vendors?

Consider the scenario where you encounter a hip, cloud based company and their specific niche is designed to shave hundreds or thousands of man-hours off of your current internal processes. Incubation within cloud businesses can be a profitable endeavor because it removes the need for you to acquire additional staff while allowing skilled cloud technicians who work for the vendor to work their magic.

Using this model requires a significant amount of trust in your providers and technicians that work for your provider. When you begin researching cloud based vendors, you should ask them several questions which can help you determine if you are dealing with a “Nested” cloud solution. You must then assess if your business model is sustainable and profitable given the fact that you now know you are working with a “Nested” cloud solution. We write “Nested” in quotes because Mary Shacklett over at TechRepublic should be credited with popularizing the term.

Questions to Ask Cloud Companies
Do you use a public cloud infrastructure such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud?
If so, what type of Service Level Agreement is in place in the event of a third-party cloud provider failure?
It is important consider that “Nested” cloud solutions that are built on popular public cloud platforms may encounter problems that are not wholly related to the vendor you are working with directly. A popular example of “Nested” cloud solution failure is the 2012 Christmas Eve crash that heavily hindered Netflix user’s abilities to stream videos to their devices. Netflix largely blamed Amazon Web Services, the nested cloud provider, for the outage.

Since so many people use Netflix, the problem well exposed and even obtained international media attention. Amazon Web Services posted a post-mortem on their blog about the outage.  While watching movies on Netflix isn’t considered a business critical task, it is important to note the impact that a third party cloud provider could have even when you aren’t directly dealing with that company. It then becomes important to take this risk into consideration when deciding to use public cloud vs. private cloud solutions.