Neighborhoods matter. When you’re looking for a place to live, you want the neighborhood to be safe. Is it full of crazy neighbors throwing parties into the wee hours of the morning? Is it known for having break-ins? Can you trust the landlord to come out and fix problems in a timely matter?
We use the neighborhood metaphor in web hosting because it fits well. ServInt – and companies like it – creates safe neighborhoods where your site can live without being affected by your neighbors. We keep the environment safe and reliable. The metaphor has fallen out of favor lately, however. With the move to the cloud, you suddenly don’t have dozens of neighbors. You have thousands or tens of thousands of them. People don’t know where their digital address is anymore. Data is distributed over a cluster or two, rather than sitting on a single server.
Despite this, I believe it’s more important than ever to think about your digital neighborhood. It can take only one bad apple to ruin the whole bunch. On a huge cluster, it becomes much more difficult to discover if a neighbor is slowing you down, making you a target for hacking, or getting you blacklisted. Much like any large neighborhood in real life, community activism plays a huge role. A neighborhood watch, with strong leaders, can make a neighborhood profoundly safer.
Reach out and talk to your neighbors on social media and forums. Discuss the problems you face and exchange ideas and solutions. Get involved, not just to make the cloud safer, but to empower yourself. Find out who shares your neighborhood and learn why you should (or shouldn’t) be happy with the neighborhood you’ve chosen. Isolation is virtually impossible in the cloud and attempting it risks leaving you unprepared.
Of course, you shouldn’t go it alone. Good hosting providers aspire to provide safe neighborhoods. ServInt’s SolidFire platforms, for instance, are industry-leading efforts to eliminate noisy neighbors. Any technical solution is only as good as the people involved with it, however, so we also provide leadership and work with our community to ensure a safe, stable, and secure environment. Together, we can eliminate those bad apples before they cause major problems.
Photo by David Stanley.