Terrifying Verizon Cloud Unleashes a S–tstorm

Storm Clouds

This article looks at Verizon’s announcement that their enterprise customers should plan for as much as 48 hours of downtime over the weekend. That’s right: two days.

We will proceed as follows:

  • Verizon Cloud – Sh–tstorm a-Brewin’
  • Prepare for the Worst – Bring Your Raincoat
  • They Don’t Know What They’re Doing
  • I said I’ll Give You Shelter from the Storm

Verizon Cloud – Sh–tstorm a-Brewin’

Never hit someone when they are down. It’s just not nice. But what else can you say other than, “What is Verizon doing?”

Sharon Gaudin of Computerworld reported on an alert Verizon sent out to its enterprise cloud users letting them know that there could be as much as 48 hours of service outage over the weekend. Sharon writes, “The company confirmed this afternoon that its new cloud service, Verizon Cloud, will be shut down for maintenance for as long as two days starting at 1 a.m. ET [New York City time] on Saturday, Jan. 10.”

Enterprise users have been told to shut off their cloud servers by Midnight ET – just turn it off, like a vacuum cleaner. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Users of Verizon Cloud won’t be able to use any services that have relied on the stability of the corporation’s system – whether email, data, or applications – throughout the shutdown. Verizon Cloud Client Care (Less?) tweeted that virtual machines, the control panel, the API, and object stores would all be 100% inaccessible.

Dan Olds of the Gabriel Consulting Group said that this type of outage is absurdly long. He noted that these 48 hours will be incredibly difficult for Verizon customers, saying that two days of downtime is an incredible issue for enterprises. Dan said that he could not remember any cloud shutdown that was so prolonged.

Olds essentially said that this move by Verizon showed ineptitude bordering on incompetence: “In a traditional data center, an outage like this is rare, and completely unacceptable unless it’s due to a true catastrophe.” Dan explained that even if a catastrophe did occur, the majority of enterprises have business continuity plans that will keep everything running smoothly or will at least enable lightning-fast recovery.

Verizon did say that the downtime would only apply to Verizon Cloud, not its other cloud environments. A representative for Verizon said that approximately 1 in 10 enterprise users would not be able to access their cloud virtual infrastructures for as long as 48 hours.

Frank Gens of IDC said that cloud providers often schedule maintenance, but the long time period is almost incomprehensible. “Forty-eight hours seems very excessive,” he said. “My guess is that it will be quite a bit shorter. If it isn’t, that’s a real problem.” He said that the decision to tell users to expect 48 hours of downtime itself was a publicity disaster, making them more vulnerable at a crucial point in development of their cloud – as the market is becoming increasingly crowded, making Verizon stand out as an imposter.

Prepare for the Worst – Bring Your Raincoat

Sharon advises that Verizon users should be preparing for the possibility of a substantial shutdown.

Olds said that probably many of the affected enterprise customers were racing to download all of their data so that they could plug it into another system while the shutdown is occurring. He said that he suspected some users were presenting the Verizon portal to their own customers, and that they had to make a decision between two challenging scenarios: “These folks are going to have to either quickly come up with an alternative mechanism to keep their business online,” he said, “or they’re going to have to figure out how to explain why they’re taking a 48-hour vacation.”

48 hours of downtime is a huge kick in the teeth to Verizon as it attempts to compete with Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM. In other words, Verizon has somehow kicked itself in its own teeth, which is incredibly acrobatic and does deserve respect.

They Don’t Know What They’re Doing

Gaudin notes that a chief differentiating factor between cloud providers was their uptime.

Olds said that planning to go down for 48 hours “shows that [the top Verizon execs] don’t understand the importance of their service to their customers, and, worse yet, are oblivious to the impact on them.” He said that the shutdown would be used by AWS and the other big players in cloud to attack Verizon’s capabilities.

Those attacks on Verizon will be well-deserved, according to Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. Rob said that no enterprise would put up with 48 hours of downtime. He essentially suggested that every customer should leave Verizon en masse.

Verizon should have moved their users to redundant systems when traffic was low, so that customers didn’t even know the downtime of primary systems had occurred. Instead, the plug is entirely pulled, which, said Enderle, “is insanely stupid.”

I Said I’ll Give you Shelter from the Storm

Do you want a cloud that won’t result in a sh–tstorm? Check us out.

By Kent Roberts

Free Use image via Wikipedia