This question comes up a lot with my customers… “should I put my data in the cloud?” When it does, I recount the following story:
Years ago when I started working with computers, all the local school districts had software from the same company. We’ll call them OldCo (obviously not their real name) for the purposes of this discussion. OldCo also sold software targeted at city governments, and I had a few city customers using some of those products.
OldCo’s software was all DOS based. They started a project to convert their school accounting and student records programs to Windows. Just as they were about to begin beta testing of their Windows accounting software, the database vendor they were using went out of business.
So they couldn’t buy the necessary licenses to resell to their customers.
They started all over at that point, essentially scrapping the entire project, and switched to an entirely Microsoft-oriented codebase, using SQL server as their backend. This put them way behind their planned deployment schedule, not to mention costing them a bunch of money.
Along came another company, which we’ll call OSC (Other Software Company). They were another major player in the school software business, and their software supported Windows already. OSC bought out OldCo to get their customer base (a sound strategy I’m sure), and pushed all those schools into switching to their student records software. They didn’t have a school accounting program, but that was okay with them… they kept the OldCo staffers who understood that program and continued to maintain and sell it.
Who’s missing here? The city government customers. OSC notified them that they would not be supporting or selling OldCo city government software any more, and no, they wouldn’t really help anyone extract their data from it either.
Those city government customers were cut off from support, but at least they could keep using the programs. If their data was stored in someone else’s cloud, and that someone else closed their service for any reason, where would they be then?
This is why I don’t like the Cloud.