Cloud Outages: Cloud Services Downtime And The Lasting Impact
As cloud services reshape the IT landscape, the looming threat of a cloud outage continues to hinder the full embrace of the cloud. Amazon Web Services has recently been thrust into the spotlight after its cloud services suffered an overnight outage that took down a handful of popular sites.
The fallout from the Amazon cloud outage certainly didn't help dispel any fear around cloud security and downtime. And as Amazon continued to scramble to get its cloud services back online, many customers questioned the reliability of the cloud, Amazon's communication around the outage and whether they would be compensated for the downtime as part of their SLA.
Amazon's cloud outage wasn't the first, and it certainly won't be the last. A host of other cloud services have gone down in the past year, with Yahoo Mail, Microsoft BPOS and VMware being the most recent. As the cloud continues to raise questions around reliability and support, we examine the aftermath of cloud outages and what they mean for users, the channel and the IT industry as a whole.
For the second time this year, Amazon Web Services suffered a cloud outage. A brief, but widespread AWS outage took out a host of popular Web sites, including Netflix, Quora, Reddit and Foursquare.
Amazon's cloud outage was the big one. The overnight outages suffered by EC2 and Amazon's Relational Database Service took down a host of popular Web sites, including Foursquare, HootSuite, Quora and Reddit. The fallout from the outage has been felt not only by Amazon and its customers, but by cloud providers throughout the industry.
The effects of Amazon's cloud outage still lingered at Interop Las Vegas 2011, as a panel of cloud experts examined the lasting impact of the outage, whether cloud services can be trusted for mission critical applications and the need for users to closely examine their contracts.
Amazon's silence surrounding the outage has opened the door for solution providers to add value to cloud services by informing customers of the situation, offering customers options and helping them examine their providers.
Amazon's cloud outage has also been viewed by some cloud providers as a cautionary tale that highlights a need for solid planning. In turn, the outage could also drive opportunities for solution providers as worried users seek to avoid the downtime Amazon's outage brought to the forefront.
Amazon's lack of communication around the outage soured some VARs who believe success in the cloud hinges on transparency. The outage has reinforced the need for cloud providers to be open and up front with their clients, while also reaffirming that cloud support options need to be revisited.
Cloud outages have become par for the course; from Amazon's cloud outage, to outages suffered by Google Gmail, and Microsoft BPOS, here are the 10 biggest cloud outages of 2011, so far.
Google Docs, Google's cloud-based suite of productivity applications, suffered a brief outage with some Google Docs cloud services going down for roughly an hour. Google Docs comprises a host of Google's cloud-based applications, including documents, presentations, spreadsheets and other tools.
Amazon's and Microsoft's cloud computing infrastructures suffered major cloud outages in Dublin, Ireland when a power source was knocked out of commission by a vicious lightning storm, conking the clouds offline for several hours, the two companies said. The Irish lightning strike caused downtime for many Amazon and Microsoft customers using the two cloud computing services, including Amazon EC2 and Microsoft BPOS.
Microsoft BPOS was hit with yet another cloud outage, which caused issues with Exchange Online. The downtime is just another hiccup for the oft-troubled cloud services solutions which has suffered a recent streak of cloud outages and issues.
While not quite as devastating as the EC2 outage, Yahoo's cloud-based e-mail service went down for several hours. Yahoo Mail is among the world's largest cloud-based e-mail services, estimating in late October that the number of global Yahoo Mail users is at 273 million.
Not to be left out, VMware's Cloud Foundry development platform recently suffered two separate blackouts. VMware blamed a power outage for the first incident and claimed that the second incident occurred while it was developing a detection plan to prevent incidents like the first Cloud Foundry outage.