Gartner Blog Network


Cruise Ships and Cloud Computing

by Jay Heiser  |  February 15, 2013  |  1 Comment

As 4,200 disgruntled holiday goers, trapped on the ironically named cruise ship Triumph, finally end their 5 day ordeal, it serves as a reminder that the eggs can have more stake in the state of the basket than the basket holder does.

From the point of view of the cruise line, each booked up ship represents a concentration risk, containing thousands of human beings, their fate, indeed their very lives, dependent upon the correct functioning of a very large and complex system.  From the point of view of the passengers, a cruise ship represents recovery risk.

While cloud computing has been relatively smooth sailing for the majority of its passengers, there have been multiple multi-day incidents that required a recovery process of uncertain duration, with ambiguous hopes for success.  There have even been clouds that ran aground in the shallow waters of a highly competitive marketplace, leaving their passengers permanently stranded. 

Most cloud service providers are able to weather a single packet storm, returning to operational status and compensating their customers with credit for time lost, and maybe even a bit of extra credit. For those who haven’t had their enthusiasm permanently squelched by 5 days without toilets or dinner, the cruise line is offering free cruises to the victims of this mishap. Many of the unfortunate Triumph passengers have lost a week’s worth of vacation—something that they can never recover. Likewise, when a cloud fails, thousands of customers are likely to experiences forms of loss that cannot be compensated for.

Both the cloud and cruising industries have proven relatively reliable, but failures do happen. One lesson that cloud customers can take from a series of vacation-ending fires and floodings is that when a single incident simultaneously impacts thousands of customers, the recovery will be slow and frustrating, and the provider will have no way of compensating their customers for their lost time.

Category: cloud-computing  risk-management  

Tags: cloud-failure  cloud-risk  concentration-risk  portfolio-risk  recovery-risk  risk  risk-management  

Jay Heiser
Research VP
6 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Jay Heiser is a research vice president specializing in the areas of IT risk management and compliance, security policy and organization, forensics, and investigation. Current research areas include cloud and SaaS computing risk and control, technologies and processes for the secure sharing of data… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Cruise Ships and Cloud Computing


  1. […] more: Cruise Ships and Cloud Computing ← Advantages of Cloud […]



Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.