The Cloud is Better In At Least One Way

Many people don’t see the cloud platform as necessarily better run than what they do in their local data center. That might be true, and certainly the caliber of people, their experience, responsiveness, and more can make a big difference to the way in which any environment operates. One would like to think that AWS, Azure, Google Compute, etc. would all hire the best people and pay them more to operate a top notch system. I’m sure they have some of those people, but they also may have some average people that might not be better than your administrators.

Corruption is something I’ve experienced a few times in my career, and it was incredibly scary each time. I’ve been on multi-day support calls, trying to recover data, exported out pages to reconstruct values, and had to have very difficult conversations with management and clients to let them know data is gone. I think the worst experiences for me were breaking the news to workers that would have to try and re-enter data. Many of them had lots of extra work to look forward to without extra pay.

The Microsoft Azure team takes corruption seriously, and there’s a good description in this post of how they protect against and deal with corruption in Azure SQL Database. It’s quite comprehensive, and it’s a set of things that I wouldn’t expect most companies to implement. Even some of the better SQL Server people I know don’t necessarily get called in during off hours when a corruption alert fires. Plenty of people working with SQL Server might not have been through an Immersion event and understand how to even deal with corruption outside of calling Microsoft.

The cloud is a vast array of service and settings, many of which we can manage ourselves. In those cases, certainly the cloud might not do a better job than we would. No one on a cloud vendor’s staff is going to manage your VM or help you ensure your database design is solid. However, in checking for corruption, ensuring disk level backups, watching for DDOS and other threat vectors, the cloud vendors certainly do a better job than most of us. And for corruption, Azure SQL Database seems better watched than most databases I’ve seen in my career.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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