That's the argument put forward by Simon Crosby, chief technology officer at Citrix. An airliner has millions of parts, and so does a large data centre. A few providers can put them together reliably, but "you can't," he told his audience at the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco.
Crosby pointed to attacks by Anonymous on organisations such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), PayPal, Mastercard and Visa in retaliation for their treatment of WikiLeaks. AWS "didn't blink" he said, but the other companies running their own data centres suffered outages. "An attack on your data centre will take your outfit down," warned Crosby.
That doesn't mean a big, properly configured public cloud won't fail. Crosby pointed out that Gmail, AWS and Microsoft Online Services have all had outages recently.
The trick, he suggested, was in learning how to use public clouds so that you can keep running in the event of an outage. When AWS went down recently, Netflix kept running despite being 100% AWS based.
But you can't do that with legacy applications, Crosby warned, but you can with next-generation applications, so organisations need to find people with the skills (such as Ruby on Rails) to build them.