For many years the meat-eating consumer was happy to walk up to the counter of McDonald’s, point to the artistically crafted picture of a burger to place their order and eat the item without questioning its contents or origin. It was what it was, on face value, a ‘tasty’ burger not too dissimilar to how you see it advertised on television or in print. Then the consumer became more discerning. They wanted to know; they needed to know, it was their right to know of origin, food chains, process and constituent ingredients. In a huge break from previous secretive and closed doors ways, it was reported this week that Ronald McDonald has opened the doors of his so-called ‘top secret food plant factory’ to let ABC’s Good Morning America crews see where the magic happens and to tell the story of origin – to witness the Big Mac at source.
It is all part of a wider campaign that the food chain calls “Our food, your questions” but it got me to thinking of the parallels that I and others in this technology field increasingly encounter around Cloud hosting and origins, something that was previously unchallenged by the discerning consumer of Cloud-based services.
In the video we hear the notion that “Millennials are driving the food bus” and whilst it may not be a Millennial per se that is driving the Cloud service scrutiny bus, it might just be Millennial behavior type being adopted across generations or as Brian Solis put it recently to our CMO, “Generation C.”
What is inside the Big Mac Cloud?
The notion of the Cloud is nothing new but mass adoption of Cloud based service offerings is and now the consumer is asking the kind of questions that previously were not an issue. In the same way the consumer was happy to pay their money for their burger and not question anything of its provenance, the Cloud is now also under such scrutiny and as I share a liking for socks as fancy as Ronald McDonald, I too am also happy to entertain discussions around the origins of our Cloud delivery.
Cloud consumption habits have changed, partly because technology has but also because of consumer demand for light-weight and agile methods of delivery without the need to self-host. On the whole, the privacy concerns had gone away, the recent Apple and Snapchat issues have only slightly stirred up the conversation again and so it was that trust in the Cloud and where data was physically hosted was not an issue. But just as McDonald’s are reacting by throwing open the factory doors, Cloud hosting providers are also seeing such questions rise up the agenda. It is no longer just consumption for the sake of consumption and using the Cloud because that is what everyone does or soon will conduct technology driven marketing. Certainly in more regulated industries, consumption for some regulated industries means they want to know exactly where our data center is, where is the Cloud located if not an ethereal construction in the sky?
Sometimes ‘Europe’ is not local enough – even for the Cloud
For European SDL technology deployment with Amazon Web Services, you basically have it in Europe. But some customers are now asking or even insisting that it needs to be in Germany, if they do business in Germany. For a regulated industry user in Spain, the Cloud will possibly need to be hosted in Spain. So for all its mysterious omnipresent talk, the Cloud still often needs its hardware to be physically rooted in the country of service deployment, rather than a general acceptance that hosting it somewhere in Europe (as a means of avoiding latency issues of hosting European deployed services further afield) is satisfactory enough in itself. Does this mean that agility has to be sacrificed and undoes a key benefit of Cloud services? It is an interesting conversation to have.
At face value the Cloud is a perfectly rounded beef patty with a secret recipe for its success but I think it is good to question the origins of Cloud services and it should stand up to the same level of scrutiny as the origin of our food to provide transparency, trust and increase the adoption and deployment of such technologies that run in the Cloud.
Let me know your thoughts on the provenance of Cloud services in the comments below.