Reactions to the Amazon Cloud Outage and the Company’s Explanation

Reactions to the Amazon Cloud Outage and the Company’s Explanation

The last two weeks have been the most difficult for cloud computing in general and Amazon Web Services in particular. The outage that left several online businesses non-functioning just before Easter.  The cloud has led to many analysis and debates.

When Amazon finally came out with an apology and an explanation a week after the incident, it gave rise to further speculation and comments, and also taught some valuable lessons to providers and consumers alike (See: Lessons from the Amazon Cloud Outage). For example, questions still remain as to the number of clients who actually lost data.

Here is a compilation of comments from industry insiders and experts in the aftermath of the critical incident that shook cyber space:

IT industry insiders

A blip, something that makes people more curious, more inquisitive about what a cloud service is and how it works, and what you are actually getting.” –Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer at Rackspace, speaking on the gravity of the incident.

Amazon has been extremely quiet around how the failure occurred and how it will be avoided in the future.” – Joseph Coyle, chief technology officer of Capgemini North America, commenting on Amazon’s initial reticence on the issue.

They really need to communicate during the outage. There have been a lot of complaints about Amazon’s lack of communication during this outage.” – Paul Burns, president of cloud computing research firm Neovise, seconding Coyle’s comment above.

This particular outage is a huge opportunity for other vendors. It really drives home the fact that there are a lot of cloud vendors out there. Those who may have been on the fence about Amazon may reconsider.” – Brian Fino, managing director of Fino Consulting, speaking about possible challengers to Amazon’s dominance in this space.

Journalists and domain experts

I thought the Amazon Web Services cloud used more automated procedures than that.” – Charles Babcock, editor-at-large, InformationWeek, in response to Amazon’s explanation about the incident.

Such issues are the nature of the beast. Due to their scale, cloud systems must be designed to be in many ways self-monitoring and self-repairing.” – Peter Bright, staff writer at technology blog Ars Technica.

While you’re negotiating those deals with one or more cloud providers, take a minute to examine your service level agreements (SLAs) with any provider. SLAs should set out how your providers are rewarded when things go right, and how you’re compensated when things go wrong.” – Robert Dutt, veteran IT journalist specializing on Canadian stories, advising cloud computing consumers about the importance of transparent contracts.

Amazon clients

It’s a pretty vulnerable feeling. This is a really big message to us that we need to revisit our strategy.” – Josh Cochrane, vice president of product development at Palo Alto Software, speaking about a possible change of heart about depending on the Amazon cloud.

We always store data in multiple zones to avoid this problem. The reason it went down is that it failed in multiple zones.” – Jeremy Edberg, senior product developer at Reddit.

If Amazon had been more forthcoming with what they are experiencing, we would have been able to restore our systems sooner.” – Keith Smith, CEO of BigDoor, expressing his displeasure at Amazon’s handling of the situation.

Our usually-amazing datacenter hosts, Amazon EC2, are having a few hiccups this morning, which affected us and a bunch of other services that use them.” – A more forgiving attitude from Four Square on its official blog.

“Judging by the length (of the apology), we can understand what took them so long. I am sure everyone would have appreciated more details during the outage itself, so that we could make an informed restore vs. ride it out decision, rather than continually being told ‘just a few more minutes’ until we lose faith.” – Justin Santa Barbara, founder of FathomDB, commenting on Amazon’s 5700-word apology and explanation.

By Sourya Biswas

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