Amazon Web Services Deployment The Right Way

Amazon Web Services Deployment The Right Way

In general, when considering all things “cloud” it’s healthy to retain a skeptical mind set and avoid succumbing to hype. But the fallout from the recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage is actually a very positive sign for Cloud Computing. Sure some sites got taken completely down, including a favorite of many, Quora. However, another popular site managed to survive the incident with comparatively minor hiccups: Netflix. This is the bright spot the cloud community should examine. As with many other leading websites, Keynote monitors the performance of certain transactions at Netflix.com. According to Keynote measurements, on the east coast starting at 12am April 21st, Netflix’s performance for successful transactions stayed a consistent couple of seconds and was available 96% of the time. Granted this isn’t flawless execution, and note that the 27 failed data points are all timeouts resulting in just a red screen. However, compared to what happened to many sites, this is outstanding. (Y-axis details obscured.)

It’s not dumb luck that got Netflix off this easy. It’s the product of hard work and engineering time invested in building their Amazon Web Services deployment the right way. As Netflix has been touting in various cloud conferences this year, they’ve been forced to fully embrace AWS due to their tremendous growth. Basically, they only run credit card transactions in their private network. To ensure they always have enough capacity (and incidentally are highly available) they have turned provisioning decisions over to their operational systems. Whenever an Amazon instance is poorly performing they terminate it and get a new one. Likewise if there is an availability zone acting up (like what happened on April 21) then they automatically switch over to another.

This is how real high availability has always been done in networking: ensure that you can automatically failover to logically, physically, and geographically separate resources. Any real engineer will tell you that problems and failures will happen. Your availability track record is not based on how frequently this occurs but how gracefully you recover from them.

Herein is the promise of Cloud Computing: namely the favorable relationship between cost and failover capabilities. In a private network world you would have to build and pay for a lot of infrastructure yourself: multiple data centers, double the hardware, internet access connections on opposite sides of the building, etc. Very quickly the cost of high availability gets prohibitive, locking out all but the deepest of pockets. Netflix explicitly stated at Cloud Connect that, despite their growth, they just weren’t big enough to justify building a network of redundant data centers.

Enter Cloud Computing. Now having access to redundant data centers is just a matter of purchasing the right performance monitoring tools and the engineering time to program your applications and operational systems to take full advantage of on demand resources. In the end, you only pay for the infrastructure you use, not what you might need as is the case when doing it yourself. That’s the real shame and promise highlighted by this outage; young companies like Quora and Foursquare could easily have done just what Netflix has done. The barrier to entry here isn’t a huge budget but the knowledge and priorities to do the work. The next step of course after fully leveraging Amazon is to be able to failover to different cloud providers, and Netflix is probably working on exactly this, right now.

In a way this drives home a point we’ve known all along. Cloud Computing is not outsourcing; this implies a transfer of risk and responsibility. Your business, not Amazon or Microsoft or Google etc., are responsible for the performance of your applications whether they are in the cloud or not. Cloud Computing is a powerful tool to increase performance and availability many fold while reducing costs, if it’s used correctly. If you don’t use the tool properly then an outage isn’t Amazon’s fault, it’s yours. Amazon seems to agree: according to Gartner Analyst Lidya Leong this isn’t an outage that generates service credits. (Quote at very end of article.)

By Ian Withrow

Senior Product Manager / Keynote Systems, Inc.

 

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Are You Sure You Are Ready For The Cloud? SDI

Are You Sure You Are Ready For The Cloud? SDI

Software Defined Infrastructure Well, we have come full circle with this string of subjects; about making sure you are ready for the cloud. We have talked security, storage, access, connectivity and feasibility to name a few. Now, lets discuss SDI. What is SDI? It simply stands for “Software Defined Infrastructure”. Many people have their own…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

Drones: Unlimited Possibilities Await Us – Good And Bad

Drones: Unlimited Possibilities Await Us – Good And Bad

Drones: Unlimited Possibilities I have written two recent posts here on CloudTweaks about drones. The first, ‘The Pizza Delivery Drone’, was a somewhat comical look at what possibly is to come with future drones. The second was a look at the more immediately possible concept of a modular drone.  Modular drones are capable of supporting…

4 Cloud Technology Trends To Look Out For

4 Cloud Technology Trends To Look Out For

Cloud Technology Trends When you are reading articles on the future of tech on the Internet you cannot escape mention of the cloud: it is set to be the best thing that has ever happened to us, pundits assure us, and there is a promise of some serious money to be made. Reading these articles you can tell there is…

The Modular Drone Concept In Action

The Modular Drone Concept In Action

The Modular Drone Concept As the Internet of Things (IoT) world explodes around us, it is interesting to think about new ways of solving old problems. For example, drones allow for a potential solutions to a number of long-standing problems. Aerial drones that can carry modules are appearing. These new modular drones have a number…

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

CIOs Must Transform IT The emergence of the Cloud and its three delivery models of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has dramatically impacted and forever changed the delivery of IT services. Cloud services have pierced the veil of IT by challenging traditional method’s dominance…

What Agency Can Benefit The Most From IoT/CSP?

What Agency Can Benefit The Most From IoT/CSP?

What Agency Can Benefit The Most? I was recently giving a talk to some students when one of them asked me a question I hadn’t heard before. She said “How does the Internet of Things really impact the government? What agency benefits the most from IoT/CPS?” I paused for a moment, it is a great…

CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, infosec, big data and the internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Sponsor