Wednesday07 December 2022

Amazon Web Services Suffers Two Outages In Less Than 30 Days... Is the Cloud Really Safe?

Reading time is around minutes.

cloud-computing-badOver the weekend there were storms through northern Virginia that left many without power. One of these was an Amazon Cloud Computing node that housed Netflix, Pinterest, Instgram, Heroku and a few others were impacted. Ok Impacted is putting it mildly, due to the loss of power those services were offline for at least 6 hours starting Friday night and moving into early Saturday Morning.

Now I have talked at length about the dangers of the cloud computing model with a particular focus on security, but we have also touched on this exact problem before. While I was working at a managed service provider we experienced a complete outage of a data center the day after rolling out a cloud product. Fortunately the initial customers were long time partners with the company and we were honest with them about the loss of the entire data center (we rented space there and their shunt that normally allows for the transfer between shore and backup power failed preventing ANY power from getting into the data center). This type of thing does happen.

In fact this is not the first time that Amazon (or another cloud service) has gone down because of things like this. I can tell you stories about this type of issue happening more than people want to hear. Even companies like Disney have been hit by critical service outages due to power issues. However, I think that it takes a serious outage like the two that hit Amazon almost back to back in the same zone to make people take notice. The cloud is a dangerous place for your business and your data.

I hate to know the amount of money that was lost in ad and other revenue during the six hours of complete outage and any company or consumer looking to put their trust in cloud services should be thinking about this. For the consumer the danger is even more real as they often do not get the same service level agreements that a business will and the response time on consumer based services is also longer and less vigorous than what a large company like Netflix would expect.

So we will leave you this this; On Friday night the same storm that killed power to many houses also killed the power to a multi-million dollar data center that is supposed to be designed to stay up even when the power is down. It is might be a sobering thought the next time you read about how nimble, flexible, scalable and resilient cloud services are.

Discuss this in our Forum

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 16:12

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.