Amazon's Blind Side: The Impact Of Service Outages

Schijns said she has seen first-hand how service outages and security issues have affected Amazon Web Services. It's an issue she's passionate about given the big bets solution providers are now making on telecom service providers such as Verizon that are crafting public/private hybrid cloud strategies and solutions. "Public cloud doesn't mean it has to go down and it doesn't have security," she said, noting Verizon Terremark's 100 percent uptime record. "I owned my own business for 15 years. I would not have put my business data on an Amazon cloud."

Schijn's comments came during a CRN Channel Chief Roundtable held at this month's XChange Solution Provider, which marked a turning point of sorts for telecom service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner Cable Business Class that have invested heavily in channel-savvy leaders and robust channel programs. Comcast, whose channel charge is being driven by channel veteran Craig Schlagbaum, walked away with the CRN Channel Champions award for network connectivity services with high scores in both technical and financial satisfaction from a survey of 4,000 solution providers.

[Related: The 10 Biggest Cloud Outages Of 2012 ]

With telecom providers upping their game, it is a good time to look critically at Amazon, whose Web services business is expected by one analyst to double to $3.8 billion this year. Up until now, at least in the commercial IT market, it has been mostly developers and lines of business that have sought out Amazon Web Services because IT was just too slow in responding to their business needs. Price was not as much an issue as responsiveness. Amazon Web Services, in fact, got a free pass because IT was asleep at the wheel. But that window is shutting as IT organizations have moved quickly to meet the needs of business units and customers operating in a consumer-driven IT world.

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A new wave of cloud computing business-results-driven telecom service providers and technology solution providers are now preying on Amazon Web Services' shortcomings, specifically highly publicized cloud outages, security issues or Amazon's low channel partner IQ.

In a 41-minute fireside chat last November, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos did not address any of the outage, security or channel issues affecting Amazon Web Services. Ironically, Bezos claimed that Netflix need not be worried that it is competing with Amazon Prime video with both using the same Amazon Web Services platform. Just 26 days later, though, Netflix customers were hit by a Christmas Eve outage. Amazon's own video service, however, was not affected. That Netflix outage came on top of highly publicized Oct. 22 and June 14 Amazon outages last year.

Solution providers would be wise to look closely at service uptime, security holes and channel partnership when choosing a Web services partner. If they do, they will find strong choices from telecom vendors with high technical and channel IQs.

BackTalk: Steve Burke writes a monthly opinion column on You can reach him via email at [email protected].