Cloud Outages

How to recover after a cloud computing misstep

Early adopters share their lessons learned on ramping up, scaling back and avoiding disasters in the cloud.

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DreamWorks Animation knows the magic of the cloud. Since 2003, the famed studio has held its product development, design and manufacturing functions in a hybrid cloud environment, long before the storage option was even called "cloud."

The cloud gives the Los Angeles-based company "massive flexibility in both human and digital capital," says DreamWorks CTO Lincoln Wallen, adding that it gives "any artist access to any movie from any site, anywhere, on any project... instantly." It also allowed DreamWorks to move from producing one movie every 18 months to three movies a year.

A blockbuster solution, no doubt. But things proved trickier when cloud options were weighed for corporate and back-office functions.

In 2012, DreamWorks switched email systems from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail on the Google Apps platform to create a uniform framework for its 2,600 employees, half of whom used Linux for creating animation and the other half Microsoft tools for corporate functions.

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