Over the weekend one of the services in the cloud that I consume - Statcounter - experienced some unplanned downtime. In this instance it wasn't simply a hard drive failure or CPU burnout that could have been mitigated by a mirrored database or web server, it was a fire caused by a generator that took down an entire datacenter.
I imagine Statcounter are now thinking about their GeoClustering where server resources are mirrored between physical datacenters to prevent a reliance on one physical installation.
It just brought it home to me the delicate nature of the services we consume and take for granted on the internet. Without the correct planning and risk assessments users can have their usual level of service interrupted which can leave them frustrated. The Internet and the number of options available to us as service consumers makes it easier than ever to vote with our feet (or mouse button).
Circling back though, it's a free service right? Am I expecting too much? Well, perhaps not. These days most software that sits in the cloud is funded not by us as consumers but by advertisers looking to target you and I. It's funded nonetheless and I'm a valuable commodity to the service, because I represent a target about which they know lots about, knowledge that helps them charge a higher price to advertisers.
So they need me. They make money out of me. That's why I can expect a high level of service from them.