Why hosting is an art, not a science

So here’s the nightmare scenario: a crisis engulfs your website. What kind of support will get your systems back up and running?

Will you be stuck in callcentre hell trying to get through to an elusive “account handler” six time zones away? Or has your hosting partner given you a direct line that’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to the experts who personally designed your setup and instinctively know how to fix it?

art_not_scienceOK, automation is good — it allows you to concentrate your efforts on more interesting endeavours — but at some point you need human creativity, imagination and intuition to either create a solution or diagnose the problem. And problems will occur.

Back in the summer, the likes of Amazon, the New York Times, Google, Microsoft and Apple suffered a series of major system crashes, leaving millions of users and businesses temporarily offline.

For many, this is a clear indication that banks, governments and big business are over-reliant on computer networks that have become too complex. Too much, they say, is being shifted to the cloud and away from the living and breathing real world.

So by all means buy into the cloud to reduce headcount in your IT department but knowledge of your systems still needs to be nurtured and transferred. Time to bring in the people, not just the machines.