AWS outage showed the cloud isn’t unreliable, it’s undeniable

There’s no doubt you heard about Amazon Web Services going down last week, bringing a good chunk of the internet with it. But amidst the fact checking and general cleanup (which is mostly just sweeping the incident under the rug altogether), we lost sight of something: the cloud is now mission critical in our daily lives and we need to protect it.

Amazon Web Services experienced an outage last week, bringing down heavyweights like Apple and Yahoo and even, ironically, sites like isitdownrightnow.com. The culprit? Not a DDOS attack like last time – but a typo.

Besides having a third party DNS server attacked last year, AWS is incredibly reliable. The Information reporting, “Since the start of 2015, AWS has had a total of 448 minutes of downtime, 40% of which occurred in last week’s episode. That total compares with 1,652 minutes for its biggest rival, Microsoft, and 506 for Google”.

Those numbers are pretty undeniable – as is the report from GeekWire saying AWS holds a 40 percent market share of public cloud. That’s more than Microsoft, IBM and Google combined.

But the outage sheds light on more than the dominating AWS cloud. The outage took down an estimated 100,000 websites. Entire organizations were brought to a halt over a little typo that took down servers which took a whole lot longer to get back online than anyone at AWS expected. And just look at Microsoft, who since 2015 has been down 1,652 minutes and Google with 506 minutes of downtime. We’re totally tethered to the cloud – so when they go down, so do we.

But despite these outages that “break the internet” even enterprises who haven’t switched to the cloud probably will sometime soon. If that kind of accident, glitch or screw up doesn’t scare people away from this technology, it shows just how important and integrated it is. So, instead of sweeping this incident under the rug and moving on like we tend to, it’s time to think of ‘plan b’ for when these outages occur.

So, what’s the solution? Well, we should be creating redundancies in the cloud across multiple cloud providers and data centers. Such a move will help keep AWS’s reliability and availability up, but also bring business knocking on the doors of Microsoft, IBM and Google.

The cloud is mission critical for our everyday lives, and we can’t afford to let DDOS attacks and typos alike to slow us down – even for a few hours.

 

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