Are Data Centers and the Cloud close to being regulated? Mike Manos discusses challenges with Governments

Mike Manos is one of the data center executives who I always enjoy chatting with.  We chatted over drinks and dinner a few weeks ago in LV, and I am looking forward to when we are both in Santa Clara for Uptime.  One of the things I enjoy is reading one of Mike's post, and thinking about what he says and what I would say if we were drinking a beer.

Mike has a post on some observations he has collected.

Cloud Détente – The Cloud Cat and Mouse Papers


Over the last decade or so I have been lucky enough to be placed into a fairly unique position to work internationally deploying global infrastructure for cloud environments.  This work has spanned across some very large companies with a very dedicated focus on building out global infrastructure and managing through those unique challenges.   Strategies may have varied but the challenges faced by them all had some very common themes.   One of the more complex interactions when going through this process is what I call the rolling Cat and Mouse interactions between governments at all levels and these global companies.

Having been a primary player in these negotiations and the development of measures and counter measures as a result of these interactions, I have come to believe there are some interesting potential outcomes that cloud adopters should think about and understand.   The coming struggle and complexity for managing regulating and policing multi-national infrastructure will not solely impact the large global players, but in a very real way begin to shape how their users will need to think through these socio-political  and geo-political realities. The potential impacts on their business, their adoption of cloud technologies, their resulting responsibilities and measure just how aggressively they look to the cloud for the growth of their businesses.

Mike shares where he is going with future posts.

The articles will highlight (with some personal experiences mixed in) the ongoing battle between Technocrats versus Bureaucrats.  I will try to cover a different angle on many of the big topics out there today such as :

  • Big Data versus Big Government
  • Rise of Nationalism as a factor in Technology and infrastructure distribution
  • The long struggle ahead for managing, regulating, and policing clouds
  • The Business, end-users, regulation and the cloud
  • Where does the data live? How long does it live? Why Does it Matter?
  • Logic versus Reality – The real difference between Governments and Technology companies.
  • The Responsibilities of data ownership
    • … regarding taxation exposure
    • … regarding PII impacts
    • … Safe Harbor

One of the things I enjoy is listening to Mike and seeing where I have made the same observation. I wrote back in June 2010 that Government Regulation is coming to Google, Facebook, or Apple.

Who will be next for Government Regulation? Google, Facebook or Apple

One side affect of the Microsoft anti-trust action is the governments of world feel good about taking on technology companies with regulation.  You go throughout history and technologies at first were not regulated - auto mfg, power generation, oil & gas, and healthcare.  And, there is still people arguing there needs to be more legislation in these areas.

The Data Center industry is one of the youngest industries that has little regulation.  When you look at the Mobile carriers they have dozens of years of regulation (remember how AT&T was broken up).  Can you foresee a future where data centers and the data in them is as highly regulated as mobile carriers?

Keep in mind Mike's warning of the coming regulations to the Cloud and Data.

My hope is that this series and the topics I raise, while maybe a bit raw and direct, will cause you to think a bit more about the coming impacts on Technology industry at large, the potential coming impacts to small and medium size businesses looking to adopt these technologies, and the developing friction and complexity at the intersection of technology and government.