In Build the Cloud Like a Bad Guy, I surmised that the cloud is being developed in exactly the wrong direction. Instead of building cloud solutions on up-time agreements, vendors like Microsoft need to start building services with down-time in mind.

The cloud presents too many unmanageable variables and reliance on an increasing unreliable cloud will be become more costly as time progresses, IF companies believe the hype that the cloud is the future and start steadily migrating on-premise apps and services across the Internet. Microsoft and others are developing technologies to help with reliability, but no matter how much effort is put behind redundancy and backup, there's always going to be a very real potential for disaster.

Related: Improving Reliability of the Windows Azure Backup Agent

Case in point is the latest outage by Microsoft this week. Windows Azure problems started on Tuesday and was not fully restored until early on Thursday morning. This is the third major outage of Windows Azure within a year, dating back to December 2012 with another in February 2013.

I know it seems like a long way off, but while we're waiting for Microsoft to give us more detail on the outage, I have a webinar coming in March that will compare Amazon and Windows Azure as Cloud service providers. And, you can bet I'll be talking quite a bit about availability and reliability.

Here's the details:

March 25, 2014 - 1:00 p.m.

Cloud Shootout: Amazon and Azure Compared

This session surveys the landscape of cloud services available today and compares the major players in the marketplace. We'll walk through how each stacks up in terms of capabilities, implementation, and cost.

When the registration link come available, I'll post the link. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your take on cloud reliability in general, but also about what you think about Windows Azure's outage woes. One positive spin you might be able to put on it, is that companies moving to Windows Azure could start being able to take "outage days" as part of their overall holiday schedule package. "Windows Azure is down today. Everyone enjoy the day off." I truly miss "snow days" taken as a school kid. Once you become an adult these special opportunities vanish. But, Windows Azure adoption might be able to bring that excitement back.

Who knows? It might be actually start a new trend, too. Watch the morning news to catch the day's weather, and the weatherman includes a cloud availability forecast along with driving conditions, traffic reports, and the week's weather report. I'd watch that.