Show 55 – Questions You Should Be Asking Your Cloud Provider

This show is #55, recorded on July 27, 2011 with Greg Ferro, Ethan Banks, Kim Pedersen, and Mrs. Y aka the Network Security Princess. We cover a bit of news, and then discuss the security and economic implications of outsourcing your applications to the cloud. Or…the “blah blah cloud” as those of us worn out by marketing hype like to think of it.

The News


  • Defining the cloud. (Okay, at least we try to.)
  • What sorts of functions can the cloud provide?
  • How is cloud computing distinct from a colocation service?
  • Is the cloud secure? ORLY?!? Tell us how…
  • How is separation between cloud tenants done?
  • How do you handle intellectual property theft by a cloud provider employee?
  • If your cloud provider goes out of business, who owns your data? The cloud provider – or you?
  • How long could your business last if you had to go to court to get your data back from your cloud provider?
  • How do you write a contract to protect your business if your cloud provider has an extended outage?
  • Can you control where your data geographically resides?
  • How do you guarantee access from your network to your cloud provider?
  • Once you’ve guaranteed access and performance, is outsourcing to the cloud still financially wise?
  • When does it make sense to outsource to the cloud? When does it NOT make sense?
  • What happens when a cloud fails? What is your recovery plan?
  • Is it a smart idea to put mission-critical applications into the cloud?
  • How do cloud providers contract SLAs for system failures?
  • How do cloud providers replicate data between sites?
  • What usage reporting does a cloud provider offer?
  • How do you authenticate a cloud-based application against your local user database?
  • How do you ensure compliance with regulations when your application is cloud-hosted?
  • Is the cloud really just a poor man’s data center?
  • Okay – level set. Pros versus cons. The cloud is not all bad.


Odds and ends of items mentioned in the show…

Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, has been managing networks for higher ed, government, financials and high tech since 1995. Ethan co-hosts the Packet Pushers Podcast, which has seen over 3M downloads and reaches over 10K listeners. With whatever time is left, Ethan writes for fun & profit, studies for certifications, and enjoys science fiction. @ecbanks
Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks
  • Tom Cooper

    Greg, by chance, did the recording cut out at 53:00?

    • Etherealmind

      It’s working fine on my download and test.

  • Matt Buford

    One thing that jumps out at me is that a lot of the questions/concerns being discussed are not actually about hosting specifically “in the cloud”, but just about using a hosting provider at all.  Many of the same questions would also apply to hosting in a traditional non-cloud “dedicated server” provider.

  • Markh

    Kim didn’t articulate an interesting level of detail about cloud.
    Some good points Greg.

  • James Dunn

    Fascinating topic but more technical detail around how you design and deliver XaaS platforms would be nice.

    Also, how rigid should/can the product line be for such services? Maybe i dont want to be placed into a Gold/Silver/Bronze product category for example.
    Its easy to find providers who can sell you storage, CPU time and the like, but what if I wanted a hosted voice infrastructure with ISP SIP trunks or a strange and complex multicast requirement for my infrastructure.

    The flexibility of the platforms in the cloud seems to be lacking somewhat and aswell as the security and management concerns highlighted in this podcast, seems to be another reason businesses with bespoke requirements are not making the move to the cloud.

    Keep it up.

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