In the last few months we have been seeing more and more cloud outages but why? The Cloud was supposed to always be available so what happened? When major cloud provides like Amazon and Microsoft go offline due to something as simple as a typo – we might want to rethink our opinions of the cloud and really evaluate its role in business.
Cloud, Uhhhh – What is it good for…Absolutely Nothing
Well not exactly. The cloud does have specific functions that it does exceedingly well. The cloud is great for anywhere availability but you might want to rethink hosting your business critical services entirely in the cloud. From a technical standpoint, the cloud is a consolidation of resources available on the internet. This consolidation makes it easier for hackers and malicious parties to exploit and attack. Since there is a high density of workloads and services running in the handful of datacenters across the world there is a smaller attack point making it a high value, easy target. While things like backup and disaster recovery, and hosting your website or application might not be so bad – if your company’s bottomline is well, on the line, you should consider a hybrid deployment or retaining your services in house.
The Recent AWS Outage
The reason I feel comfortable making these assertions are due to the fact that Amazon Web Services were recently brought down by something as simple as a typo by one of their engineers.
“The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected. At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process. Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended. The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems.”
A typo that cost many Amazon clients lots of money. Imagine what could happen if a hacker was able to gain access? or malware somehow infected the datacenters? This could, depending on your business, put you out of business. Not to mention it affects your corporate reputation and brand image – akin to sending outbound spam without realizing it. Overall I think we will see an increase in these types of events and outages. While the cloud can be great – and It can be – I do not think it’s as reliable as people are led to believe. This is especially true with regard to business critical services and workloads. At the end of the day, it is best to have control when you need it.
If you are curious how the cloud might fit your business then