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Cloud Risk: Service Obsolescence

Joy George Kunjikkur takes us through a risk scenario using an example of the Azure chat bot service:

Beginning of last year, we started to develop a chat bot demo. The idea was to integrate the chat bot into one of the big applications as a replacement to FAQ. Users can ask questions to bot thus avoiding obvious support tickets in the future.

Things went well. We got appreciation on the demo and started moving to production. About half way, things started turning south. The demo chat bot application used Bot SDK V3. It had voice recognition enabled which allow users to talk to it and get the response back in voice. During the demo we used Azure Bing Speech API. But later before the production, we got the notice that the service is obsolete and will be retired mid 2019. Another surprise was the introduction of Bot SDK V4 which is entirely different that Bot SDK V3. Something like AngularJS v/s Angular.

The major services tend to give you some time to switch over—in this case, they had 10 months to make a move. But when dealing with online services versus locally installed products, there’s always a risk that the service you’re calling won’t be there, and depending upon how critical that service is, it can have a major effect on your ability to function if it disappears one day. That’s definitely not a reason to ignore these services; it’s a reason to have a backup plan in place.