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When the Cloud makes Rain

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

This morning I was preparing to make some final adjustments to a presentation I am to deliver on Wednesday at the Cloud Security Alliance Congress in Orlando. Prezi (prezi.com) is a cool cloud app that allows a much more interesting presentation than the square slide, square slide, square slide sequence of Powerpoint. The issue this morning was that every attempt to get to the site ended in 502 Bad Gateway. I hate when that happens. 

I checked Twitter and sure enough, prezi.com was having major issues. Hundreds of tweets from customers desperate to get their presentations running. Many panicked tweets like “My presentation is due and your site is down?!?!” Hmmmm. This cloud stuff is really cool when it works. But if you have connectivity issues or the host site is unavailable because of poor change management (my prediction for why Prezi is down today) what can you do? The cloud service providers have you over a barrel. They have your content. You cannot update or edit your own content when their site is down.

Having given many presentations where wifi or internet connections were unavailable, I knew that using Prezi was a risk. Prezi has a feature that will allow you to download your presentation for offline use. Apparently many of their customers had not thought ahead about the possibility of the service being offline.

When your entire business model revolves around 24/7 availability, it only takes one event like this morning to ruin your world-wide online reputation. I hope prezi comes through unscathed on this one. Perhaps they should consider a traditional software licensing model that does not rely on 99.99% uptime for their infrastructure.