In the middle of finishing up a conference call yesterday afternoon, I suddenly had a flashback to my days of living in Redmond and the 2001 6.2 magnitude earthquake. The floors started to rumble, windows rattle, and the building creaked and groaned as if it was in pain. I could tell the Ottawa quake was nowhere near that powerful, but nevertheless I jumped up from my desk, stood in a doorway and waited until the rumbling stopped. My team was getting ready to bolt out the doors, down the stairs and outside – the absolute worst thing to do – and I told them to stay put for a minute. The doorways are reinforced, the ceilings, open areas, and staircases, not so much.
Outside, a few moments later, the reports started to pour in on Twitter, proving once again the ability of Twitter to get news out. Wags tweeted such gems as “Ottawa government buildings evacuated. Productivity unaffected.”, and Toronto immediately laid claim to the quake (epicenter 61 km north of Ottawa) as “Toronto Earthquake 2010” sparking a war of words between Ottawa and Toronto. Apparently some people have too much time on their hands.
I wasn’t worried about our business, however. Over the past few months we’ve been gradually been moving to a cloud based hosting model. A stack of decommissioned servers sits in the corner of one of our offices now. Our web servers, payment processing, and the actual Calliflower application itself live on servers managed by Amazon, Paypal and the like. Our motivation was to save money, we’ve also boosted reliability and disaster-proofed the Calliflower service. The proof? Cell phone service in Ottawa was briefly out, but Calliflower continued to run for our customers.
Yet one more advantage of hosted, or cloud based, services.