What have we learned from the Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure outages?

March 22, 2017 Off By Hoofer
Article Written by David Marshall

In the past month both AWS and Microsoft Azure have experienced lengthy outages due to issues with the storage supporting the cloud. These outages have flooded through companies globally and brought into focus the potential downsides of putting all your eggs into the public cloud basket. After both of these incidents, the question is, how reliable is the public cloud and what options and alternatives are available?

A few technology experts have offered their opinion:

The best of both worlds is a multi-cloud strategy


Chuck Dubuque, VP Product Marketing, Tintri explains "the Azure service disruption last week once again showed that even Tier 1 public cloud services are not immune to power outages and command line typos". He goes on to say "Public cloud has come a long way, however it is not a fit for all workloads, as some may be better suited to on-premises enterprise cloud. If nothing else, the recent Azure and S3 issues will cause some businesses to reconsider a multi-cloud strategy including on-premises enterprise cloud to reduce their risks."  

Have a disaster recovery plan in place

There is no doubt that the rise of public cloud brings with it many benefits, but the recent downtime of AWS and Azure proves that it is not invincible. When evaluating how to implement a cloud strategy, explore private cloud, a multi-cloud strategy and always have a mitigation and recovery plan in place in case of any outage. The cloud is not one size fits all, so find the right fit for your company.

"Two weeks ago an S3 outage took AWS offline impacting millions of customers. This week another, seemingly impenetrable behemoth player, Microsoft, had to announce storage issues were impacting its Azure public cloud. Although Microsoft was able to quickly, well within eight hours, resolve the issue, the headline making outages of both Azure and AWS reaffirm the fact that the public cloud is, in fact, still vulnerable," said Jennifer Gill, Director, Global Product Marketing, Zerto. "IT professionals need to protect their organizations should something like this happen again. ‘IT resilience,’ the ability to respond to an IT disruption so quickly that end-users and customers are not aware it occurred is crucial. This is possible through a combination of efforts including leveraging replication to multiple targets, both on-premises and cloud, to create a hybrid cloud environment where infrastructure ‘eggs’ are not all in ‘one basket.’ Implementing these precautionary measures ensure that outages on one platform are mitigated and no company can be taken down due to its reliance on a single public cloud alone."

Private Cloud – less risk, same reward

According to Victoria Grey, CMO, Nexsan, on-premises private cloud solutions offer many of the same benefits as public cloud as an option to combat downtime that is out of the control of a company’s IT team.

She continued, "two weeks ago, the turmoil caused by the AWS S3 outage highlighted just how vital reliable data access is. Now we are seeing difficulties with Microsoft Azure’s public cloud platform. Although Microsoft has been able to resolve this, it brings to light an underlining issue with the public cloud. Any amount of downtime costs businesses time, money, and reputation, but this can be easily managed if data is kept within the organisations own IT infrastructure," "With the failings of AWS and Microsoft it is clear that the public cloud does not offer the availability or security businesses require. With on-premises private cloud solutions available organisations can mitigate these risks."


About the Author

David Marshall is an industry recognized virtualization and cloud computing expert, a seven time recipient of the VMware vExpert distinction, and has been heavily involved in the industry for the past 16 years.  To help solve industry challenges, he co-founded and helped start several successful virtualization software companies such as ProTier, Surgient, Hyper9 and Vertiscale. He also spent a few years transforming desktop virtualization while at Virtual Bridges.

David is also a co-author of two very popular server virtualization books: "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and the Technical Editor on Wiley’s "Virtualization for Dummies" and "VMware VI3 for Dummies" books.  David also authored countless articles for a number of well known technical magazines, including: InfoWorld, Virtual-Strategy and TechTarget.  In 2004, he founded the oldest independent virtualization and cloud computing news site, VMblog.com, which he still operates today.

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