Cloud Fail – Is The Fail Whale Coming to a Cloud Computing Platform Near You?

More often these days we are putting up with error messages like this one from Facebook.

Come back in a FEW DAYS! ?##$@!
Come back in a FEW DAYS! ?##$@!

So the Fail Whale has become an Icon for Twitter’s ignorance of performance and keeping the data cloud under control. But as we move, or as the industry tries to tell us we need to move, to the “cloud” how many more “We appreciate your patience” messages will we be seeing in the next year?

Twitter, the poster child of error messages has been developing a few more themes for it’s problems.

So Facebook is not immune to the problems, they just don’t handle it with such humor. I believe the “If it persists please come back in a few days. Thanks!” is a tone that will kill many a cloud computing effort.

Just because it’s a cloud, it’s still web “services” and your customers and their users need to be treated with respect. I am not saying the Fail Whale is a good alternative, but the Facebook message is an EPIC FAIL.

Imagine this scene: Okay let’s check on the inventory for our new widget, CLICK, SEARCH, pause… Wait wait wait. “We’re sorry, there was an ERROR, please check back LATER.”

What the heck does that mean. Later? Is it a “few days” like Facebook’s flippant “we don’t really care about FB apps cause they are not really critical path to our business” reply. Or would a cute picture of someone flogging the server, hopefully not your BRAND of server, help ease the tension of the fact that YOU CANNOT GET YOUR JOB DONE.

How about this: “We are sorry the cloud has encountere some minor turbulence. Please wait a few seconds and try again. If you encounter this error again please use the contact method of your choice: emailaddress, twitteraddress, livechatlink, submitaticket, phonenumber.”

Now that’s the response I would be looking for. Outside of that, I’m off the cloud for less turbulent options, known as MY HARD DRIVE and MY SERVERS.

@jmacofearth
permalink: http://uber.la/2009/05/cloud-fail/

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