Last Updated: 2014-07-15 00:08:33 UTC
by Daniel Wesemann (Version: 1)
In matters of food and wine, the Europeans have this concept of "AOC", based on the originally French "Apellation d'origine contrôlée". It means that, say, Bordeaux wine actually comes from there, and is not re-bottled Malbec from Patagonia. The point I'm trying to make, albeit poorly, is that it is sometimes important to know where things are coming from, which implies traceability to the source.
In matters of IT, we are currently losing this AOC. Only three years ago, we likely knew exactly, down to the server room cabinet and shelf, where our mail server was located. These days, with "cloud" services proliferating rapidly, we might know who *sold* us the service, but we only have a vague idea of its real origin or location.
The question recently came to light again when Codespaces (http://www.codespaces.com/) went down after a hacking attack back in June. As they say on their web page "In summary, most of our data, backups, machine configurations and offsite backups were either partially or completely deleted". I wonder how many (if any) of Codespaces' customers had actually done the due-diligence, while signing up, to determine that all of Codespaces' services were hosted at Amazon EWS, *including* the backups. That's AOC! You might know from where you buy your SVN or GIT hosting, but - unless you negotiate hard, forbid any sub-subcontracting, and ruthlessly enforce your right to audit - you might never learn where your SVN/GIT hoster actually hosts the service. And, not even with your right to audit, will you ever find out where *that* hoster draws their services from. Because you don't have a contract relationship with the hoster (only with the SVN service on top), and if the hoster, at their discretion, decide that they can operate more cheaply by re-selling Virtual Machines from Patagonia instead of running their own .. that's what's going to happen.
If you like this concept, I have a stellar 1961 Bordeaux that I'm willing to part with for a good price. Please don't worry about the penguins and the Spanish language on the label :).
In all seriousness though - it is overdue that "cloud" providers provide a bit less cloud, and a bit more sunlight. It might hurt their bottom line a little, but the kind of "AOC" end-to-end transparency, with traceability to the source, is vital and paramount for the customer to assess and mitigate any resulting risk.
If you have any stories on how you determine the "AOC" of your penguin wine (or not), please share below.