Is Your Company Ready For A Cloud Service Outage?

Is Your Company Ready For A Cloud Service Outage?

If you are using one of the major CSPs (cloud service providers) you may already be used to major service outages. Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Google Apps and Microsoft Azure have all had their fair share of outages in the past 18 months, and some of them have been huge failures (Amazon’s April 2011 outage lasted 47 hours for some customers), which have brought down sites such as Reddit. However, companies such as Netflix have been able to survive the outages well. In this post, I will cover details on how you can effectively manage a service outage by taking note of best practices from Netflix and other companies that have successfully weathered the storm.

Create a disaster management fire-drill

Fire drills should be an essential part of cloud management. Once a month, have a fire drill to simulate failures in different parts of the system to see how your systems hold up in case of failures. This includes preparing your PR and customer service personnel, instituting quality control processes and executing an executive-level contingency plan to prevent panic from gripping the company.

Have all your data backed up securely

Periodically back up data and store it away from your primary CSP. For example, you could have an Amazon S3 instance to back up your Rackspace cloud installation. This will mitigate against a single point of failure.

Keep another service provider ready

Have another CSP ready to run an instance of your server at short notice, if needed. Even if it doesn’t provide full features for the site, this plan B should provide a minimum working subset. (In an email application, for instance, the service must allow you to send and receive email, even if contracts and archive access is not restored.)

Create stateless systems

One of the lessons Netflix offered was to build stateless systems where possible. That means a new request from the client can be served by any of the available servers, even if the original server to which the client made the request is down. This requires very careful planning during development.

Work on graceful degradation

Your system has a graceful degradation when a certain percentage of failure causes only an equivalent percentage drop in performance instead of bringing down the whole system. To enable graceful degradation, you must detect failures quickly (set  quick timeouts when the system recognizes a failure) and shut down all non-essential features of the system (to save precious resources for critical features).

Create a communication plan to keep customers in the loop

If there is an outage at your CSP, your customers will also be affected. Imagine you are running an online store and the outage has prevented you from shipping. Even if none of the previous disaster management steps worked, you could save some of the bad press by keeping the customers and other stakeholders regularly informed of the status. Identify proper communication channels and create a plan to keep all of them in the loop. This requires having a backup of customer contact data, writing FAQs and preparing your employees to handle questions appropriately.

Having a proper service outage plan is essential to the survival of your business in the long-term. It could save a lot of headaches, not to mention your brand value, when failures do happen.

By Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and tech strategy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Maryland and has been blogging for the past 7 years on technology and business related topics.

4 Responses to Is Your Company Ready For A Cloud Service Outage?

  1. Every time there’s a major cloud outage, one question always confused user; should they be putting their trust and data in the technology? One good outcome from this article is that outages don’t make cloud computing unreliable or risky. You just need to be prepared to go to a backup plan. Companies can make strategies not to move all their applications to cloud and in particular critical applications like customer relationship management, business facing or trading applications can sit as standalone apps. One more aspect came out here – company need to find out how their cloud provider supports them in case of outages. Always keep in place a disaster recovery plan.

  2. Every time there’s a major cloud outage, one question always confused user; should they be putting their trust and data in the technology? One good outcome from this article is that outages don’t make cloud computing unreliable or risky. You just need to be prepared to go to a backup plan. Companies can make strategies not to move all their applications to cloud and in particular critical applications like customer relationship management, business facing or trading applications can sit as standalone apps. One more aspect came out here – company need to find out how their cloud provider supports them in case of outages. Always keep in place a disaster recovery plan.

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

What is the 12/12 Program?

This program is designed to better handle the thousands of requests we receive from people looking to submit articles. The 12/12 program is the commitment of 12 articles delivered over a 12-month period.  

Wait! What if I just want to submit one article?

Our popular pay as you go sponsorship program provides the flexibility to submit as you wish and is designed for all budgets.

Contributors

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips for Successful Business Intelligence Implementation The cost of Business Intelligence (BI) software goes far beyond the purchase price. Time spent researching, implementing, and maintaining your BI investment can snowball quickly and mistakes are often expensive. Your time is valuable – save it by learning from other businesses’ experiences. We’ve compiled the top ten

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

How Do These Two Compare? In Boy Scouts, I learned how to tie knots. The quickest knot you can tie is the slipknot. It’s very effective for connecting one thing to another via the rope you have. It was used in setting up tents, mooring boats to docks temporarily and lifting your food up into

What Ever Happened To Google Glass?

What Ever Happened To Google Glass?

What Ever Happened to Google Glass? It was supposed to be the next big thing in tech so where did it go? Last year you could not go anywhere without hearing about some insane new use for the product and now it seems to have vanished in a plume of smoke. A Lackluster Rollout Back

Posted on by

Big Data

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data in Your Garden Big Data and IoT initiatives are springing up all across the globe, making cities, protesters–and just about everything else–smarter. However, thus far there’s been little attention paid to the interactions between these bizarre technologies and living things other than humans. Biology, that is, human biology is one field where Big

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Big Data and City Management Cities like New York, Madrid, and especially Rio de Janeiro are augmented with Big Data-powered initiatives that range from combating crime with predictive analytics (New York & Madrid) to providing real-time data for improved management. Although Big Data is no panacea and is mainly used in conjunction with a greater

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities And Big Data As Anthony Townsend argues in his SMART CITIES, even though the communications industry has changed beyond recognition since its inception, the way we consume power has remained stubbornly anachronistic. The rules of physics are, of course, partially to blame, for making grid networks harder to decentralize, as opposed to communication

Internet of Things

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital? We all know the capitals of fashion are London, New York and Paris, while the capital of film is Hollywood (or Bollywood!) – but what’s the new capital of the internet? Specifically, the internet of things? The answer – according to new research by Ozy – might surprise you. It’s not Tokyo, Seoul,

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities And Big Data As Anthony Townsend argues in his SMART CITIES, even though the communications industry has changed beyond recognition since its inception, the way we consume power has remained stubbornly anachronistic. The rules of physics are, of course, partially to blame, for making grid networks harder to decentralize, as opposed to communication

Aggregated News

Popular News Sources

iCloud Photos web client opens just before iOS 8.1 launch

iCloud Photos web client opens just before iOS 8.1 launch

With Monday’s scheduled release of Apple’s iOS 8.1 update, the first major upgrade for the latest version of the iPhone/iPad operating system, to include a new iCloud Photos service, it appears the web version has rolled out a few days early for those with beta access. Registered developers who log in to their account on

Samsung: Nice Stock if You Can Get It

Samsung: Nice Stock if You Can Get It

Samsung: Nice Stock if You Can Get It World’s leading maker of memory chips is highly profitable. Read the source article at online.wsj.com About Latest Posts BalajiBalaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and tech strategy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from

Cloud Analytics Market (by Cloud Business Intelligence & Predictive Analytics) Expected to Cross $16.52 Billion by …

Cloud Analytics Market (by Cloud Business Intelligence & Predictive Analytics) Expected to Cross $16.52 Billion by …

Cloud Analytics Market report gives the detailed analysis trends and forecasts, competitive landscape, key drivers, restraints and opportunities in North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Japan, Asia-Pacific (Ex-Japan) and Latin America ( http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/cloud-based-business-analytics-market-959.html ) (PRWeb October 18, 2014) Read … Read the source article at prweb.com About Latest Posts BalajiBalaji Viswanathan is