Just as cloud computing picks up steam and recognition, Coghead’s PaaS cloud is closing down on April 30, 2009. Their failure to raise funds and monetize their business model is forcing all Coghead users into offloading data and rewriting their specialized drag-and-drop database applications.
Coghead’s conundrum is one to take note of and typical of the risk involved with moving operations into a cloud computing environment. Lose your cloud provider and your faced with data migrations, application redesign and even worse – company downtime.
Coghead Chairman Paul McNamara had this to say:
SAP has purchased Coghead’s intellectual property assets. Leading up to this transaction, we made a careful evaluation — certainly the level of enthusiasm for Coghead was high and our business was growing fast. But faced with the most difficult economy in memory and a challenging fundraising climate, we determined that the SAP deal was the best way forward for the company.
McNamara also said:
SAP did not assume any of Coghead’s customer relationships or obligations and, at this point in time, SAP does not have plans to continue offering the Coghead service commercially.
Fortunately for Coghead users, cloud vendors like Intuit are making migration assistance offers hard to refuse:
Intuit- To help ease the transition we’re offering:
Six months of free service to get started. We’d like you to be able to focus on getting your business transitioned and not covering a monthly subscription.
Two hours of free consulting with a member of our QuickBase Business Consultant Program who can help rebuild your application in QuickBase
Lastly, we will be offering webinars specifically for Coghead customers where we talk about QuickBase and discuss transition issues.
At the very least, there are options in this Coghead failure. Coghead did offer its users until April 30, 2009 to get back on their feet with another PaaS vendor. But what if your cloud vendor’s shortcomings put your business data in a sudden lights-out emergency? Say, your reliable PaaS provider has their plug pulled because of credit problems that you were never made aware of – not farfetched with our current economy – exactly what just happened at Coghead. Or your SaaS email provider hits downtime like Google’s recent Gmail incident.
Cloud computing risks exist and it can be hard [as a business] to develop a disaster mitigation program that addresses them. The cloud vendor business model alone is a single point of failure with a risk potential to drop your company data overnight.
Would you contract a second cloud service provider to run your data in parallel? Or could you just forego cloud computing altogether and rely on your company’s IT infrastructure — where you know if your business fails and ends up lights-out, your data at that point will not matter?
Cloud computing is young and holds strong promise. The Miso Team will be keeping an eye on this technology.