There is still a lot of uncertainty on aspects around cloud data storage that still makes this a bit of a contentious issue amongst business decision makers, preventing them to encapsulate on the benefits of cloud hosting.
Some questions that indicate a level of uncertainty are:
- 1. Where does my business data ACTUALLY get stored?
- 2. Is my data stored somewhere that I am not aware off?
- 3. What are my rights to access or ownership of my own business data in cloud data storage within any location?
- 4. How do I protect my business against issues arising from cloud data storage?
So for the purpose of this discussion we will be dealing with number 1: Where does my business data ACTUALLY get stored when I evaluate cloud hosting options?
Data Sovereignty Protocol
The aspect that governs the location and storage of your data is referred to as ‘data sovereignty protocol’. This protocol attempts to deal with 2 aspects:
- 1. proof of the physical location of a server
- 2. proof that data is stored at this physical location
So some ways to determine this is to look at:
- 1. whois databases, which now has protection capability so this might not give you much insight
- 2. DNS records
- 3. Manual inspection of Internet artifacts
The following tools have gone a long way in giving some monitoring capability of your data storage cloud service provider:
- 1. CloudCmp
- 2. SLAm
- 3. Nimsoft’s commercial monitoring service
- 4. Geobytes.com (my personal favourite)
Finding the location of your database server on cloud hosting by using Geobytes.com
So we have a Microsoft SQL Server staging environment currently on Microsoft Azure cloud hosting on the following IP: 126.96.36.199. If I go to Geobytes.com on the following link: http://www.geobytes.com/IpLocator.htm?GetLocation and I type in this IP, this is the response I get:
As you can see, the information available to you on the location of your cloud data storage is:
- 1. Country of cloud data storage
- 2. City of cloud data storage
- 3. Latitude of cloud data storage
- 4. Longitude of cloud data storage
Finding the location of your database server on cloud hosting by using RIPE
Go to the following link: https://apps.db.ripe.net/search/query.html and enter your IP. You will see a similar result to this:
So the organisational details of the IP owner relating to your cloud data storage provider are also available.
The following information is available to you for your cloud hosting provider:
- 1. IP range owned by your cloud data storage provider
- 2. Country of your cloud data storage provider: UK
- 3. Organisation details of your cloud data storage provider: Microsoft (https://apps.db.ripe.net/whois/lookup/ripe/organisation/ORG-MA42-RIPE.html)
Relevant links: http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/136448/cloudcmp-imc2010.pdf
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