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Joseph Coyle, CTO for North America at Capgemini, said the outage will force cloud clients to step back and educate themselves on exactly what they're purchasing from their cloud vendors.
"The exposure here is that when leveraging the cloud, the buyer needs to fully understand the technology and the SLAs that each cloud provider offers," Coyle said. "High availability and data center failover are offered at different levels. Clients need to fully understand what they are signing up for, but also what their tolerance is for each system or environment that is being migrated to the cloud."
For cloud solution providers, giving clients that understanding is key and will require a new level of transparency in the cloud.
"There will need to be more transparency on what technologies are running on the back end. Not so much vendor hardware but more around the software -- hypervisors, redundancy, etc -- in place," Coyle said. "I think there should also be more focus on calling out the levels of redundancy that are included in the contract versus additional levels available for purchase. Finally although cloud vendors do not support announcing where their data centers are located, I do believe they now need to at least provide details on local data center redundancies -- in Amazons case known as Availability Zones."
Jim Damoulakis, CTO of GlassHouse Technologies, a Framingham, Mass.-based solution provider, said the Amazon downtime is a reminder that moving applications into the cloud and leveraging cloud services doesn't remove the need to plan and ensure that the cloud meets the needs that it's set out to meet.
"It's kind of a d�j vu all over again scenario," he said, adding that the Amazon outage shares similarities with the push for disaster recovery of a few years back.
Damoulakis said the outage came as a surprise because Amazon has run cloud environments for more than four years with only a few hiccups, which led to an expectation for it to just work. He said that could have made user expectations high, making an outage that much more jarring.
"The fact that they have run it so well and at such a large scale for so long, some can get lulled into a sense of complacency," Damoulakis said, noting that "the cloud environment can be as reliable and as unreliable as you make it."
For companies like Stratalux, a Los Angeles-based solution provider that offers cloud management, Amazon going down in some areas opens to door to more management opportunities. It also brings to the surface that cloud environments are managed differently than on-premise and they shouldn't be treated the same.
"If people are taking their existing IT paradigm and moving it to the cloud, they're going to run into trouble," Stratalux CEO Jeremy Przygode said.
Designing and planning for failure is imperative, Przygode said.
"The cloud will fail, but what you need to do is focus your attention on rebuilding and reprovisioning. You need to plan for that failure. If you design the infrastructure correctly, you shouldn't see any failure," Przygode said.
Michael Kirven, co-founder and principal of New York-based cloud solution provider Bluewolf, agreed and said "just because it's easy to deploy an application to AWS, don't fall victim to planning for failover." Kirven said once applications are in the cloud, they don't exist in a vacuum; there are still management requirements.
"Just because I can move it into the cloud, that doesn't mean I can ignore it," he said. "It still needs to be managed. It still needs to be maintained."
Cloud Outages Are Part Of The Game, Shine Light On Support