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.

Comics
The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups Cloud platforms have become a necessary part of modern business with the benefits far outweighing the risks. However, the risks are real and account for billions of dollars in losses across the globe per year. If you’ve been hacked, you’re not alone. Here are some other companies in the past…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

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,…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

Data Insecurity In The Cloud Today’s escalating attacks, vulnerabilities, breaches, and losses have cut deeply across organizations and captured the attention of, regulators, investors and most importantly customers. In many cases such incidents have completely eroded customer trust in a company, its services and its employees. The challenge of ensuring data security is far more…

The Key To Improving Business Lies In Eye-Interaction Tech

The Key To Improving Business Lies In Eye-Interaction Tech

Eye-Interaction Technology Analysts at Goldman Sachs predict virtual reality revenue will surpass TV within the next decade. More than just some gaming fad, VR represents a whole new way for organizations to train, research, and explore vast amounts of data. Despite its popularity, however, VR is still not in the hands of the majority, and…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…