In a meeting I was in this morning the discussion of the importance of location agnosticism for cloud apps, especially to SMB customers kept getting batted about. The general consensus was that as long as reliable services were being delivered, few if any SMB customer was going to be concerned as to where the datacenter supplying their services was located.
So of course, as I sat at my desk, sipping my coffee with the large Fair Trade logo plaster across the cup, the first news item to meet my eye was the announcement of IBM's involvement in building the largest cloud computing datacenter in Asia, to be located in China.
I should probably leave the political commentary to David Gewirtz, but I will admit that the concepts "Fair Trade" and "China" rarely coincide in my mind. Now I know that the basics of the Fair Trade movement have little to do with technology issues, but the driving force that allows it to succeed in the US is that it implies at least some smattering of social consciousness on the part of the vendor and consumer.
Beyond that, I've worked with manufacturers who have had contracts the explicitly stated that items could not be sourced from China, and some that have had security issues that dealt with the security and privacy of customer data related to a specific contract. So this made me think; do I want to deal with a cloud provider whose services, whole or in part, are hosted in China?
But I realize that the question isn't even that simple; how do I determine that a contractor, or sub-contractor or even a business further down the supply chain is not connected in some way to a datacenter that is hosted in a country that has shown a lack of concern about issues like privacy or the ownership of intellectual property?