Stormy Weather

“The sky is falling!” the gaming site SCVNGR tweeted last week when Amazon’s cloud-based Web service suffered a major outage, knocking a number of its customers offline and raising questions about companies relying on remote computers beyond their control.

“Reliability is probably the No. 1 concern with cloud services,” Jason Glassberg, co-founder of security firm Casaba LLC, told CNNMoney, adding that the glitch was “a big ol’ black eye” for Amazon.

[EXPAND More]Peter Drucker–who, we’ve suggested, would have seen tremendous potential for the cloud to revolutionize the way that people work–certainly would have understood all the questions being raised about the technology. In The Practice of Management, Drucker’s 1954 landmark, he recalled how Sears, Roebuck was able to build up its mail-order business in rural America only by convincing farmers “of the reliability of the catalogue and the company behind it.”

And yet, at the same time, Drucker wouldn’t have been surprised by the trouble at Amazon or a similar failure that is plaguing Sony. After all, Drucker noted, nothing, is foolproof. That’s why, he said, “you think through alternatives ahead of time so that you have something you fall back on if and when things go wrong.”

Indeed, Drucker asserted, almost anything worth doing involves risk. “The ideas on which tomorrow’s business is to be built must be uncertain,” Drucker wrote. “They must be risky; they have a probability of success, of course, but also a probability of failure. If they are not both uncertain and risky, they are simply not practical ideas for the future.”

What do you think: Is the cloud too unreliable for businesses to depend on–or is some amount of malfunctioning simply inevitable? [/EXPAND]