Lessons In Cloud Fail Damage Control

Lessons In Cloud Fail Damage Control

Detractors of cloud computing received unexpected buttresses to their arguments this past weekend, as a pair of noteworthy power failures sent the Internet reeling.

Friday night (June 29), a storm electrified by lightning temporarily wrecked a sizable section of Amazon Web Services’ cloud computing service. AWS’ enormous clientele, of which Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram shine most brightly, were rendered unavailable for hours on end. Customers utilizing websites and resources powered by AWS were neither provided with sufficient information to comprehend the sudden outage nor reassured that their then inaccessible data would remain protected.

Across the pond, customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) experienced similar panic induced by a failure in late June. RBS, alongside NatWest, complete shut down its capacity to take inbound payments from customers, a failing which has continued linger through to this week. Many of those banking with RBS have been left unable to tender finances needed for expenses like bills and food. Technological errors in RBS’ functionality, stemming from cloud associated infrastructure, instigated the bank’s dilemma. Mirroring the AWS debacle, customers felt deserted without transparency. The distraught mood was intense enough to arouse the BBC’s interest in tracking the carnage.

Rivals of AWS have due cause to hurl the company’s cloud gaffe in its face as a deserved brickbat. And RBS customers are justified in their ire against a bank who ostensibly values data security over transparency with those who fund it. Yet a pause on the anger allows for some rational realizations to surface.

In the case of Amazon Web Services, it’s unlikely that its competitors in storage space outsourcing via the cloud would have been able to complete circumvent the crisis. AWS boasts only one figure at its apex: Jeff Bezos, to whom all staff at work for the company must answer. Other companies feature a group of leaders, which in the event of a cloud-affecting power crisis, a case could result of too many chefs in the kitchen.

As for RBS, a less convoluted and more apologetic mea culpa was in order. Blighted customers instead received a vapid press release. “The need to first establish at what point processing had stopped delayed subsequent batches and created a substantial backlog,” read one of the release’s clearer statements.

Solutions for preventing such incidents in the future continue to remain grim. Interviewed by GigaOM, engineer par excellence Geoff Arnold had this to say about if the IT community could hope of better managing large distributed systems: “I used to think so, but I’m getting more cynical now.”

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data The modern enterprise is digital. It relies on accurate and timely data to support the information and process needs of its workforce and its customers. However, data suffers from a likability crisis. It’s as essential to us as oxygen, but because we don’t see it, we take it for granted.…

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Governance, Risk and Compliance Businesses are under pressure to deliver against a backdrop of evolving regulations and security threats. In the face of such challenges they strive to perform better, be leaner, cut costs and be more efficient. Effective governance, risk and compliance (GRC) can help preserve the business’ corporate integrity and protect the brand,…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

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…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…