Fair Trade datacenters?

Fair Trade datacenters?

Summary: Is the location of the datacenter hosting the cloud services you rely on going to become an issue?


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?

Topics: Security, Data Centers, Hardware, Storage, China

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  • Well, it's kind of a mess...

    Basically, from the research I have done, consumers and business consumers are not really going to have a say in where their data centers are. "Cloud Services" are the new buzz tech and basically most consumers and businesses have no idea how the tech works or how it will impact their businesses or lives.

    Basically, it will take a number of lawsuits to get this whole thing sorted out. Businesses are not listening to their customers because they don't have to. Consumers will consume no matter what so basically the free market is broken when it comes to "Clouds". It is a mix of consumer ignorance and large corporations obfuscating product specs. The large corporations are betting that consumers and businesses will just suck it in and consume for the lowest price they can get even if they trade their legal rights to their own products and data.

    I look at the Wikileaks disaster as a blueprint for the future of "Cloud Computing". Irregardless of how anyone actually felt about the company, it took a public demand from just one U.S. senator to Amazon's cloud network to shut down a company that had not been accused of a crime. No due process required. Yes, Wikileaks got another hosting company but when ever cloud company is drinking the same kool-aid, where are you going to go? Google, IBM, Yahoo, all routinely cooperate with any official entity that might interfere with their own business, so why would they protect your companies data?
    • RE: Fair Trade datacenters?

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