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Storage users spared downtime from Microsoft Azure crash

The good news for Microsoft Windows Azure cloud storage customers was found in the last sentence of the third paragraph of the blog update about its “Leap Year outage” Wednesday:

“Windows Azure Storage was not impacted by this issue.”

That doesn’t mean cloud storage won’t be impacted in the future, though. A high-profile cloud outage will have people thinking twice about moving important data to the cloud.

“Every time one of these things happens, the umbrella of the cloud gets tarnished,” said Andres Rodriguez, CEO of cloud NAS vendor Nasuni. “It hurts. Our customers know what they have, it’s the prospects that I’m worried about. Our sales guys get many more questions in the field because of it.”

Nasuni stores its customers’ data on Azure and Amazon S3 clouds. Amazon’s compute cloud, you may remember, had two outages last year. Cloud outages are one reason Nasuni bills its hardware and software NAS appliances a storage services systems, not cloud devices. Rodriguez said Nasuni treats the cloud as a hard drive, but uses the same architecture as mainstream storage vendors. And he wishes cloud providers would treat storage and compute as separate entities, just as data centers do.

“This would not happen if people separeated compute and services in the cloud,” he said. “Compute and storage are totally different things in the data center, and people somehow bundle them in the cloud. They’re not bundleable. They’re two different systems with different characteristics. Azure did not have any issues in its storage layer. The storage piece of Azure has been highly available for the last 48 hours.”

Microsoft said the Azure issue was resolved a little after 1 PM ET today.

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