Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cloud United States IT

Harris Exits Cloud Hosting, Citing Fed Server Hugging 95

Posted by timothy
from the sell-your-stock-in-the-less-efficient-agencies dept.
miller60 writes "Despite the publicity around the U.S. Government's 'Cloud First' approach to IT, many agencies are reluctant to shift mission critical assets to third-party facilities. That's the analysis from Harris Corp., which has decided to get out of the cloud hosting business and sell a data center in Virginia, just two years after it spent $200 million to build and equip it. 'It's becoming clear that customers, both government and commercial, currently have a preference for on-premise versus off-premise solutions,' said Harris' CEO."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Harris Exits Cloud Hosting, Citing Fed Server Hugging

Comments Filter:
  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:13PM (#39185821) Journal
    Have you hugged your server today?
    • Re:Server Hugging (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hodet (620484) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:25PM (#39185963)
      By fed server hugging the first thing I thought of was the fed having easy access to my servers. That would be a real concern for me if using an American cloud hosting provider, as I am not located in the US. Do these companies have any choice but to bend over to the government when they are told?
      • Re:Server Hugging (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:26PM (#39186583) Homepage

        That would be a real concern for me if using an American cloud hosting provider, as I am not located in the US. Do these companies have any choice but to bend over to the government when they are told?

        You are correct, they have no choice.

        The wording of the USA Patriot Act allows them to basically demand data from any US company (it might even be US owned). So, any data there you should consider to be essentially available to the Americans on a whim.

        I've done some consulting for the Canadian government, and we legally can't store any data on any servers in the US or host certain data with US owned companies. Because, if the US authorities came in and demanded it, they'd have to hand it over and be legally bound to secrecy and not tell anybody it happened. Not a good situation for confidential government data with private information in it.

        So, if you have data you don't want to be subject to US rules, the only solution is to not store it with them, and possibly not with anybody owned by a US company.

        I believe the EU has encountered some situations in which companies can either be breaking the EU laws, or breaking the US laws ... it's not possible to be in compliance with both if one prevents you giving access, and the other insists they get it.

        The only way to keep your data secure, is to keep it in-house.

        • by berashith (222128) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:00PM (#39187071)

          so this is proof that the canadians are terrorists! If there is nothing to hide then why are they hiding it?

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by jc42 (318812)

            If there is nothing to hide then why are they hiding it?

            They'd probably be happy to tell you after you post all your login account names, number and passwords online. You don't have anything to hide, do you?

            You're welcome to post them in a reply to this message ...

        • I believe the EU has encountered some situations in which companies can either be breaking the EU laws, or breaking the US laws ... it's not possible to be in compliance with both if one prevents you giving access, and the other insists they get it.

          IIRC, one potential conflict (I know of no actual test case yet) is that EU privacy rules forbid the export of personal data to places without adequate safeguards (which includes the US), but the US has laws that any US-based business must hand over any data it has to the US government on demand under certain circumstances. If the US company operates an office within the EU, normally keeps personal data from the EU within the EU, but gets a demand for the data via its US head office, they could be in a lega

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            This is very different to the situation in various other jurisdictions, where case law can set precedents for interpreting statutes but can never override them.

            In theory, in having some overriding principles (ie the Constitution), laws which are indefensible will fall as they fail to meet a certain standard, or exceed certain bounds. I should hope that nobody could ever pass a law saying slavery was legal, for instance.

            If case law can't overturn statutes, then you can pass any absurd, draconian, or otherwi

  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:14PM (#39185835) Journal

    No one wanted cloud storage, but some businesses.

    The only thing worse then saying something bad happened and all our data is gone, is saying, the cloud disappeared and all our data is gone.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:18PM (#39185879) Journal

      For some of us it's the simple reality that our data is out of our hands. Yes, we can encrypt, and that offers some security, but you're still left with the fact that you're going to need some sort of third site backup to truly make sure your data can survive a catastrophe (including the cloud provider being raided, its/your servers ending up in an evidence room for an indeterminate amount of time) that could destroy or make inaccessible critical business data.

      I think there's a place for it, but in the type of business I'm in, where contractual and legislative obligations on securing of confidential data is quite stringent, the cloud just doesn't offer what we want. Data out of our custody is data out of our control.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:45PM (#39186177) Homepage

        Don't worry, they're still gunning for your business:

        Harris will instead focus on providing secure networks and cloud solutions for customers on their own premises.

        'cloud solutions for customers on their own premises'

        You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means....

        • by Anonymous Coward

          But guys! Guys! Come on! It's Great! All you gotta do is just put your data in THE CLOUUUUUUD!!!

          You guys like clouds, right? Everyone likes clouds! Their floaty, and fluffy, and you can always find shapes of cute little bunnies in them! Who wouldn't want their data in something like that? And oh yeah! Star Wars! Remember Star Wars? Putting your data in the cloud is just like being Lando! Remember how cool he was?

          So yeah, guys... Clouds!

          I know the marketing megaphone can turn any buzzword into a shrieking noise that makes your ears bleed, but I have hated this cloud bullshit, since the moment Amazon started farting up press releases with their EC2 product.

          Fact is, someone else's cloud is only good for data you don't care about. If the data is useless. Put it in a cloud. Don't care about backups? Put it in some other assholes cloud. Free cloud storage? Yes, please, take some of my garbage. I don't want it stinking up my own personal hard dr

        • So the only option is to virtualize off-site? You still get huge cost savings from doing virtualization in-house, its just not as profitable (with recurring revenue) to a third-party service provider.

          Also, I want to stab people who use the marketing term "the cloud". It's not dark magic. Its virtualized, resilient resources.

        • by dkf (304284)

          'cloud solutions for customers on their own premises'

          You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means....

          An awful lot of larger businesses are internally structured as a group of smaller businesses, with "contracts" between business units. (Yes, they're not formally contracts, but the main difference on a practical level is that it is the CEO of the overall company who is the ultimate decider of last resort, not the law.) Within such a setting, an "internal" cloud can still make a lot of sense and the technologies used to implement a cloud are highly relevant in any case. It's very common to have needs that ar

      • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:46PM (#39186193)

        Data out of our custody is data out of our control.

        Oldest story in the endless repetition of the IT world. Reliability. Lets say you're a midlevel manager in charge of providing email service to the biz.

        1) Hire a low level sysadmin to run a server in the basement, he knows he's fired if the server isn't up 100% of the time, if he doesn't respond to your slightest whim at 2am every morning, or instantly correctly answer the dumbest question. Paying a server jockey $60K/yr just to run email, makes sense if reliable email brings in $3M/yr of revenue in your biz and unreliable email brings in $0M/yr. This option gets you a promotion because you did so well.

        2) Or cloud it for $50/month, and the boss selected the provider for you on the basis of how good the season tickets were and/or how hot the saleswoman is. The provider knows they have a bullet proof legal contract that makes them responsible for pretty much nothing, and if you leave the provider doesn't care because each customer is only about 0.01% of their total revenue anyway. If its not working as you prefer, you have no leverage over the provider unless you are one of their top 10 customers (if you have to ask, you're not), what are you going to do, make your boss look bad for selecting the wrong provider for you, or cancel a multi-year contract resulting in days to weeks of downtime and involving legal. This option simply gets you fired.

        Last cycle of the eternal IT wheel I was a very small cog in a very large machine at a provider fitting option 2 and I know some customers got fired for buying email service from my ex employer, always awkward to call a customer about an old trouble ticket and be told they got fired because of your service (whoops). Clouding your web server today is no different than clouding your email IMAP and POP server a decade ago. Dumb career ending move for management unless you're in such a ridiculous special case that they may as well write a book just about you.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:23PM (#39187373) Journal
          Except that's not how it works. If you host the data on site and there is any down time, then you lose your bonus because your department failed to meet targets. You are also seen as a cost centre. On the other hand, you pay that $50/month and you can show the savings for the the $60K/year salary and get a big bonus. Now the down time is someone else's fault, so it doesn't affect you. The fact that the contract doesn't let you charge the outsourced company is legal's fault, not yours, so you keep the bonus. At the end of the year, you put 'saved current employer $100K/year in overheads' on your CV and move onto the next company. Sure, you may have cost the company $3M in lost business, but that's not in your department's accounting...
      • You're not looking for a cloud in this case, you're looking for offsite storage. There's a difference.

    • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:51PM (#39186243)

      The only thing worse [than] saying something bad happened and all our data is gone, is saying, the cloud disappeared and all our data is gone.

      Actually, this story sounds a lot like the last high-tech startup I worked with. These guys (Harris) listened to the buzz, drank the koolaid, blew $200m on a data centre/center, yet put no further effort into thinking about how to do it in a way that it would be salable. "But, but, it's the cloud!", expecting the buzz words to do all the work for them. In the case of my HT startup, "Are you wanting to track people or materiel? Do you want to track incoming and outgoing, or location on site if on site?" "Uh, yeah!" They had an idea, but no plan as to what they wanted to do with it.

      Secondly, gov't moves slooooooowly. They should have predicted they'd be in for the long haul if they expected this to work for them. Instead, they're quick buck artists, expecting buzz words to do all the hard work. I'm not a bit surprised they're now running away screaming "lalalalala."

      "Cyber Integrated Solutions"! Jeebus!

      As this market evolves, it's also becoming clearer that customers don't place additional value on trust and are unwilling to move the most mission critical applications to the cloud before less sensitive applications are thoroughly tested and vetted in a cloud environment, Brown added.

      Well, WTF? and duh! Who hired these fools, and have they had any experience with large scale IT deployment?

      Or, maybe those guys down the road who were doing it right just showed potential customers what doofuses these guys were.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Secondly, gov't moves slooooooowly. They should have predicted they'd be in for the long haul if they expected this to work for them. Instead, they're quick buck artists, expecting buzz words to do all the hard work. I'm not a bit surprised they're now running away screaming "lalalalala."

        Thirdly? a lot of these type of deals are "we will dump $200M into this and some greater fool will come along and buy the works from us for $250M next year insta-profit!" Whoops no one showed up. Oh well, dump it.

        • by tqk (413719)

          Thirdly? a lot of these type of deals are "we will dump $200M into this ...

          Did you notice this was $200m to upgrade an existing facility? What, you buy the whole thing lock, stock, and barrel, then Holmes on Homes style rip everything out and throw it away, then buy and replace it with all brand new, state of the art, fully stocked and finished (not bothering to roll out what you need when customers show up wanting it)?

          Does that really go for $200m these days, or how much of that went to wood paneling and deep broadloom carpets for the executive offices, and seasons tickets, and

      • This guy is trying to protect his company and himself from investors who should rightly be judging them as less than competent, seeing as how they are supposed to be good judges of the worth of technological innovation. Gee, who would have thought that businesses DON"T trust 'the cloud' for data integrity and security? I like (sarcasm) this bunch of bullshit:

        "As this market evolves, it's also becoming clearer that customers don't place additional value on trust and are unwilling to move the most mission-cr

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by purplebear (229854)

          Just as an FYI, Brown is new to Harris. The former CEO left shortly after the data center was functional. He actually went out on top of bringing Harris up to a $6B+ company.
          Not defending anyone here, just giving some information. Brown could not possibly be responsible for this blunder.

          With that said, I thought the idea was a little crazy to begin with when Harris wouldn't even put less critical data into a 3rd party providers hands, even with sensitivity guarantees. So, why would their government services

        • by tqk (413719)

          This guy is trying to protect his company and himself from investors who should rightly be judging them as less than competent ...

          ... customers don't place additional value on trust ...

          When I read this before, I thought he was talking about security when he said "trust." Now I see he was attempting to rely on Harris' reputation.

          Holy !@#$!

          If I worked somewhere that Harris had done work for in the past, I'd be sending letters around to all dept's asking for critical evaluations of Harris' work. What was it, does it work, what's it cost to maintain it, is it reliable/cost effective, would you recommend them for future projects (why or why not), ...

    • "The only thing worse then saying something bad happened and all our data is gone, is saying, the cloud disappeared and all our data is gone."

      It was never the case. The worse thing than saying "all our data is gone" is "*I* made all that data to go through the bathtub". CYA is as strong if not stronger on managed services "in the cloud" than on premises.

  • Shocking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Because I really was looking forward to putting all my mission critical inhouse infrastructure into someone elses control.

  • by koan (80826)

    Yet another duh moment in technology.

  • "Cloud" is today's "Snake oil"

    • by mounthood (993037) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:52PM (#39186267)

      "Cloud" is today's "Snake oil"

      No, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is todays snake oil. "Cloud" is just an amalgamation of business models that haven't been sorted out yet.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        "Cloud" is today's "Snake oil"

        No, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is todays snake oil. "Cloud" is just an amalgamation of business models that haven't been sorted out yet.

        Which makes it all the more easy for people to add "Cloud" to anything they are selling, to give it that sexy appeal of being on the cusp of exciting* new technology. I'm getting loads of junk mail about how to make Cloud Technology work for me. Really? So far none of the sales pitches sount close to anything I actually need (or could use, considering the sensitivity of the data I work with.)

        *Exciting: May involve intense panic, screaming, hair pulling, catastrophic failure and/or aportionment of blame.

      • Cloud means outsourcing and not much else. Departments don't choose to outsource themselves, so it's not terribly surprising that this isn't happening quickly.

      • I think you're wrong about SEO. The trouble is that there are plenty of people who do peddle SEO in a way that is snake-oilish, as if there's some silver bullet that will magically get your unknown small company to the top of Google's rankings. That's nonsense of course, but many small companies who get their founder's dad's neighbour's kid to design the site either don't get the basics in place or do something that actively harms their ranking because Google penalises that behaviour (ironically often a res

  • by dstates (629350) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:24PM (#39185947) Homepage
    Everyone wants to keep their data close to their chest, but only the Feds and Fortune 500 companies have the resources to actually do it. For a startup or small business, cloud services are a god send. Compared to the costs of building a data center and staffing an IT department, a good cloud provider gets you up instantly and expands seamlessly. Harris targeted the wrong audience and/or they could not compete with Amazon.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Everyone wants to keep their data close to their chest, but only the Feds and Fortune 500 companies have the resources to actually do it. For a startup or small business, cloud services are a god send. Compared to the costs of building a data center and staffing an IT department, a good cloud provider gets you up instantly and expands seamlessly. Harris targeted the wrong audience and/or they could not compete with Amazon.

      Harris doesn't mess around with Mom & Pop unless Mom & Pop are producing something for DoD or have some other very well connected, essential work.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Harris doesn't mess around with Mom & Pop unless Mom & Pop are producing something for DoD or have some other very well connected, essential work.

        Perhaps they should've targeted that market. They could be the cloud provider AND escrow service. If Mom and Pop working for DoD goes tits up, the servers are available for the DoD to continue research. If they go rogue, the evidence is on the servers.

        Harris could go after the secure hosting angle as well - the Feds can maintain their own data center, but

    • by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:49PM (#39186221)

      Harris targeted the wrong audience and/or they could not compete with Amazon.

      You've nailed the main talking point. Cloud was where you went as an enterprise to get your data stored globally with access from anywhere. But as the internet has evolved, attacks on hosted solutions, both illegal (anonymous) and legal (feds, riaa, etc), have made jurisdiction and prudence competing factors.

      If you're a startup you have none of these concerns - you're probably happy if you can find enough money to buy your best client lunch. Once you evolve from the penniless framework you, like every other growth business, will reinvest into locally stored/colocated data inside your infrastructure and outside prying fingers.

    • by hjf (703092)

      Why would a startup or small busines need more processing power or data storage than a Core i7 or a 4TB HDD can offer?

      • by Rakishi (759894)

        There's the ones hosting websites, the ones proving api based web services, the ones providing data analysis services, the one providing data hosting services. Actually any startup that isn't using Big Data (tm) to get extra attention is going to have issues nowadays.

        Then there's the ones who care about not losing data, care about up time, care about scalability and so on.

        Not to mention time, dealing with AWS virtual servers is so much easier than a physical server. Cloning an actual server takes time, mone

        • by hjf (703092)

          How about real-world companies? Like law firms, muffin shops, NGOs,... you know, the 99%? Because those are offered "cloud services" all the time as well.

          That's the problem with cloud: there are so many cloud providers it's not economically viable anymore.

          • by Rakishi (759894)

            And for them it's more reliable to use a cloud provider than to have everything on a 10 year old computer in a corner, running windows 2k with no backup options. Or a machine in some data center that no one has touched in equally long. Many people make very good money rescuing such companies from the disasters they have wrought onto themselves when those servers finally die.

            It's not even that "cloud" is a new concept for such companies. Those companies have had "cloud" options for decades. Back when they re

            • by hjf (703092)

              From my experience, you need to pay good (very good) lip service to convince them. Most don't want to pay the monthly fees (which are usually as much or even more than what they pay for internet access) and even less, the consulting and labor needed to convert them to a "serious" IT infrastructure. And by that, I mean de-warezing, de-virusing, upgrades, securing, wring, etc. Things you need to do wether you're running your stuff in the cloud or not.

  • This seemingly popular push to "cloud computing" had everyone bouncing... seemed that way didn't it? But I'm guessing they were simply pushing a lot of hype and when it came down for business people to sign, they asked "you want me to put my data where? It's not on my servers or under my control? And you want me to sign something that says you're not responsible if something happens?!"

    • by vlm (69642)

      And you want me to sign something that says you're not responsible if something happens?!

      That's the key to how cloud was mismanaged by the cloud providers:

      Cloud = no responsibility at all and you're in a long term contractual relationship you cannot escape from and due to downsizing you don't have the technical skills to dig yourself out of the hole without $200/hr consultants.

      Inhouse = 100% total instant personal responsibility or you get fired and replaced next week by another H1B or another recent grad noob who CAN do it.

      Cloud wanted the long term cell phone contract business model. Busines

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:32PM (#39186037)

    So this company, likely founded by someone with a buddy in governement, built a new DC that was supposed to get filled by governement servers, and now because the wind shifted they're caught with their pants down?

    Zero sympathy. You tried to cash in on a buzzword, and worse, you hooked your wagon up to the governement. Try a real business model next time.

  • This is not surprising at all. A lot of government agencies do a lot of business with companies all around this region. It says to me that even in the government agencies there are IT people with bosses that get really excited over the idea of the newest hottest tech like "Cloud Services".
    They talk to a lot of companies and get them all worked up that their agency will be moving to this new tech very soon.
    Companies spend on the new tech with every indication that 4 or 5 people inside of big agencies w
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      This is not surprising at all. A lot of government agencies do a lot of business with companies all around this region. It says to me that even in the government agencies there are IT people with bosses that get really excited over the idea of the newest hottest tech like "Cloud Services".

      They talk to a lot of companies and get them all worked up that their agency will be moving to this new tech very soon.

      Companies spend on the new tech with every indication that 4 or 5 people inside of big agencies will be moving that way very soon.

      That is about the time the tech people in the agency present their powerpoint presentations on the promise of cloud technology to their upper bosses.

      The upper bosses look at giving their data to someone else and they look at wikileaks and they think about the benefits and downsides and keep their data and servers close to their chest.

      To all the asshats who wanted government to be run like a business ? They do run things now a lot like a large clueless fumbling business. You were thinking GE and look they work like a business kind of like a Worldcomm or an Enron.

      Having been in these situations in the past, the reality which often asserts itself is when the Manglement gets some actual feed back on actual use of these things -- when they see there's cost but negligible benefit, they scrap it

      There's also the prospect of the adoption curve, some people jump on the bandwagon right off and going through all the pain and suffering (or actually become big players because it turns out well *cough* internet *cough* and they have a solid presence established before the old gu

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:12PM (#39186441)

    Application Service Providers? those guys running Windows NT 4 Terminal Services edition where you had virtual desktops to run MS Office over the slow ass internet of the time? those same guys that failed and their EMC SAN's were on Ebay for 1/5 the new cost?

    Same with cloud services

    they are only worth it if you're a small start up or mom and pop. if you're a fortune 1000 or someone else with a data center built then why wipe out the investment you already made?

    if you're a big company price out how much amazon costs. by the time you pay for the super servers, all the data and backups it's a lot more than buying yourself.

  • Physical security.

    That's why software piracy is so easy... the pirate has the software... and while the agency or company might "trust" some third party there's nothing like having it on site.

    I know exactly how this went down... the idea was pitched to the agencies and companies... company IT said "kiss security good bye"... and all the companies and agencies got cold feet.

    • Also known as the "screwdriver rule".

      I'm really surprised to see the first mention of it this far down in the comments. What are they teaching the kids these days?

      • A lot of people don't have respect for old rules. They think the world is new and they don't apply... failing to grasp that the old rules are the ones that have survived repeated challenges. They're the old gladiators still walking around after 100,000 battles in the arena. Could they be wrong now?... Sure... who wants to get into the arena and be the 100,001 test case that changes everything?

        Exactly... the old rules tend to be ones that not only are valid today but will be valid in 10,000 years. They're el

  • Every five years or so people hem and hawe about remote service hosting and storage. In the late 90s everyone in the MS Exchange industry was considering remote hosting their groupware. Went no where. Then the new thing was co-hosting telecom. Went no where. In fact, remote-hosting is a good solution when an organization is small, but as soon as it starts to grow it becomes unmanageable. There ARE some examples where remote-hosting in large organizations that make sense, like Arizona State University'
  • There is no mention of that term anywhere in the article. How about posting headlines in plain English?

  • For those old enough to remember it, this is just a more sophisticated time sharing system. Which undoubtedly has some advantages for some customers/users. But unlike days past, there is little sense of security concerning not just the survival of the companies involved, but survival of your data and business plans. What is your fall back if you move everything to the cloud? Apologies to the ladies, but yes thats you standing their with your dick in your hand trying to figure out how to recreate your o

  • The issue I have with "Cloud" computing, besides it becoming the latest buzz word and craze, is the security concerns. To my knowledge none of the cloud services comply with any of the security regulations. With that said how many small organizations are using google for email or documents that contain medical information or other regulated items that have strict policies on how personal information is handled?

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

Working...