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Amazon's Cloud Outage Offers Lessons for the Enterprise

Amazon
October 23, 2012 2:18PM

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"We recommend spreading your services across separate cloud vendors to provide the best protection from disasters," said technology consultant Damian Bramanis. "Ultimately, staying safe in the cloud is a matter of trust. It's important to trust your cloud vendor at the best of times, but it's critical in the face of major problems."

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It wasn't the first time Amazon Web Services saw outages -- and it probably won't be the last. Amazon's cloud service saw outages on the East Coast on Monday. Popular sites like Pinterest, Reddit, FastCompany and Flipboard went dark.

Could this give cloud computing a black eye? Or just Amazon's service? And why do the outages keep occurring? There are yet more questions than answers but analysts are weighing in on what the latest outage, which the hacker group Anonymous is taking credit for, means for the cloud.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us the outage may give Amazon's customers cause for concern.

"As long as they've been selling cloud, you would think they would be one of the more stable cloud services," Kerravala said. "If Amazon is going to invest anywhere, they should invest to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Cloud Services Best Practices

Damian Bramanis, director of Advisory Services at Sentinus.com.au, said businesses need to use best practices for cloud services in order to avoid outages like the one Amazon just suffered. That, he said, means not putting all of your eggs in one basket, so cloud disasters don't become your disaster.

As he sees it, many cloud services can cope with failures by spreading the service across different data centers and availability zones. Businesses that followed this best practice model would have seen their operations continue despite the Amazon disruption.

"We recommend spreading your services across separate cloud vendors to provide the best protection from disasters," Bramanis said. "Ultimately, staying safe in the cloud is a matter of trust. It's important to trust your cloud vendor at the best of times, but it's critical in the face of major problems."

Fast Reactions to Outages

Quality of service is one of the top barriers to adopting cloud services for any companies, Sentinus.com.au reports. Bramanis said he's seeing businesses rate quality of service as the second-most important issue for cloud computing. The first is data security.

The good news is, cloud provider outages are typically handled swiftly. Reaction times have been promising, Bramanis said, and vendors are not only working hard to fix the problems, they're keeping customers informed with regular updates.

Kerravala said the flexibility an enterprise gains with the cloud outweighs the loss of control, "assuming that those outages are minimized. That makes the cloud provider you use very important. They are not all created equal."

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Dice Admin:

Posted: 2012-11-03 @ 5:30pm PT
As a consumer of cloud services, one should also keep in mind that, like many other services, the cloud is not fool-proof and we may need to find the check list we can look into while opting to use this service.

Here's Dice IT Wise offering some key suggestions you might want to look into, as we talk about cloud availability and security concerns.

http://www.diceitwise.com/gauging-the-availability-and-security-of-your-data-on-cloud-computing/

Phil:

Posted: 2012-10-23 @ 2:58pm PT
Here is a blog I wrote for Systems Watch on how multi availability zones can still not ensure your safe during a Amazon outage. http://www.systemswatch.com/blog/2012/10/amazon-web-services-outages-even-in-multi-az/

Also a helpful tool available to the public free for realtime health status of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud EC2 in all http://www.systemswatch.com Good site to know quickly if its you are AWS.



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