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Sunday, September 27, 2015


The Computer said "Its thataway!"
Julian Bray comments: According to a Peterborough City Council Deputy digital director in a shockingly indiscreet live 50 minute audio video IT trade presentation, he claims that EIGHTY PERCENT of Peterborough City Councils highly sensitive computer data and personal information on its residents, will be wiped from Peterborough City computers (to be junked) and transferred to a cloud based system in the USA.   An area well beyond UK legal jurisdiction, which could make the legal discovery process nigh on impossible, as none of any court required data will be held within the UK.

The provider located in Las Vegas USA hosts Netflix and the CIA (!) on its servers, has suffered multiple outages before, and without a backup service in the UK, the business of council will just close down and where the elderly, frail or those being abused and in need of care and protection, the result could be catastrophic,if not fatal.

Peterborough City Councillors would be well advised to closely listen to the entire 50 minute presentation. Apparently a new round of job losses,triggering an offload of office space occuplied by the PCC, will also be one of the outcomes and the deputy director isn't too careful with his opinions of the members grasp of  computers either, I get the impression that with a sprinkle of magic dust, apathy will do the rest and the transition to a cloud system in the USA will sail through without opposition.

Hopefully the frail and infirm within Peterborough will not starve when the health visitors tablet computer locks up or they miss key critical care data..because the Las Vegas based  cloud computer system has gone down...

That is not all, he claims that with a joint CEO in place, Cambridgeshire County Council will also see their information being transferred to a cloud based system in the USA. The system is owned by the UK tax dodging Amazon Web Services (AWS) which also streams Amazon Prime . But from my days working as a consultant to Fujitsu, and several other international IT firms, it seems odd that scant regard is being given to the legal and human rights implications of this move. Peterborough isn't the only council caught up in the hype, a huge head of steam is building up driven by the lobby outfit Local Government Association. As it happens, having first listened to the Webinair as its called  The following news item came up on The Register which should be carefully read by all concerned.

Comment Oracle is making hay over last weekend's mega six-hour Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud outage. "You get what you pay for," tweeted Oracle's Phil Dunn, with the caveat that all views are his and don't necessarily reflect those of Oracle. But you get the point.

Yes, Amazon's (AWS) been left with egg on its face and rivals will be exploiting the giant's stumble. There's oeuf, too, on the plate of some of the web's most hallowed – in Wall St and Silicon Valley circles at least – names.

Netflix, Tinder, Airbnb, and IMDb were all down or sputtering.

If anybody is venerated it's Netflix, arguably AWS's most high-profile customer – a reference customer, no less, served up on the AWS site as an example of just how far you can go if you stake absolutely everything on AWS.

Without AWS, it's doubtful Netflix would exist as we know it. Netflix would have had to continue investing in its own data center build program and the rocket scientist brains to build the elastic magic. If it had, perhaps Netflix would now be Amazon, selling its spare capacity and expertise to others. Instead, it outsourced it to Amazon.

In another time, people would have cautioned strongly against relying on a single supplier for your critical IT needs. On the web, that's thrown out the window.

But doesn't Netflix learn? It moved to AWS following a staggering outage at its own data center in 2008 and when faced with the prospect of huge growth in its business. Netflix decided it was best to place its faith in the pros. And yet Netflix still went down with AWS in a big way in April 2011. Now Netflix is reported to be closing its last own-operated data center in favor of AWS.

But hang on. Amazon isn't the only one who should hang its head in shame, here. Actually there's plenty of egg for other faces in this game – Microsoft with Azure and Office365, Salesforce, Google – all down over the last few years for periods ranging from a few hours to entire days. To them it's nothing – a mere statistical rounding error in their pledge to maintain 99.999 per cent uptime. But to those on the sharp end, it's lost business.

Netflix garners incredulous headlines just because couch potatoes must do the unthinkable and change channels or go outside. But to the broader mass, to thousands of businesses, it means literally not being able to do business: no ERP to manage production or suppliers, no CRM to run sales or notes to visit vulnerable residents, or monitor abused children,  no email to talk to colleagues. Your only option is to twiddle your thumbs between hitting refresh on the status page. That statistical rounding error suddenly looks big when you're up close to it.

Customers have been handing this infrastructure over to providers of public clouds, having convinced themselves they are the companies who know best. Uptime and servers is what they do, so they can run this stuff better than you.

Which makes it more confounding when the experts manage to screw up planned maintenance.

Or, as in the case of AWS at the weekend, Amazon failed to read the growing evidence of the popularity of its DynamoDB NoSQL database service. Demand for Global Secondary Indexes put too much of a strain on the metadata servers, forcing systems to stall.

Worse, Amazon hadn't anticipated this could be a problem, so its monitoring service wasn't set up properly to fully observe this.

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THE HIGH COURT has ruled....People have a right to lampoon and criticise politicians and public officials under the Human Rights Act, the High Court has ruled.

We have the full High Court judgment, saved as a page on here. l

ampoon (lampoon) Pronunciation: /lamˈpuːn/ verb [with object] publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm: the actor was lampooned by the press noun a speech or text lampooning someone or something: the magazine fired at God, Royalty, and politicians, using cartoons and lampoons.

Derivatives: lampooner noun lampoonery noun lampoonist noun Origin: mid 17th century: from French lampon, said to be from lampons 'let us drink' (used as a refrain), from lamper 'gulp down', nasalized form of laper 'to lap (liquid).


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