What Amazon’s Outage Reminded Us

Does Your Organization Have a Sound Cloud Strategy?

Kevin O'Connor

Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced a four-hour outage in its U.S. East-1 region. The outage is reported to have affected global business and commerce, with consultancy firm Cyence predicting the S&P 500 companies incurred $150M is losses from the outage. Fifty-four of the Internet’s top 100 retailers reported performance impacts to their user experience, and certainly countless other small businesses who don’t register on these ranks were adversely affected if they relied solely on this environment to deliver workloads.

Here’s the most frustrating part of this story: these consequences could have been avoided. How? Through discernment and design.

Discernment is and has always been the key component to Connection’s cloud engagement model. We find that customers are very interested in the value that cloud computing offers. However, many organizations don’t have staff with enough relevant experience to develop a cloud operating plan.

To help you better understand whether your organization has the necessary expertise, we present the below questions:

  • What resources do you use or need that a cloud model could replace?
  • Will a cloud service SLA meet your requirements for those resources?
  • Who in your organization understands the cloud services well enough to design your environment?
  • Who in your organization understands the cloud services well enough to manage them?
  • What cloud providers are compatible with your SLA, technology, and support requirements?
  • Does the financial model of cloud service consumption meet your organizational needs?

Discernment is the key step that we take with our customers to answer these first-level questions to gauge whether or not a cloud solution is a fit for a client. Without knowing the answers to these questions, it will be very difficult to build a proper cloud strategy. If you moved your workloads to the cloud via Amazon Web Services without considering how to design and manage them, last week’s outage probably caught you off-guard. You were unaware of the possibility of availability issues or that they could be isolated to specific zones, and perhaps you didn’t understand how an outage could disrupt your service to your customers.

Design is the second critical phase in our process and is central to preventing situations like the one presented by last week’s outage. During the design phase of Connection cloud engagements, our team works through the details of how to design a cloud environment that delivers the service quality and reliability that maps to your organizational and workload needs. It is in this phase of the engagement that we get into the details of continuity patterns for cloud solutions. We look at ways to ensure that service outages are detected and remediated to provide continuity to your business.

If your organization continues to drive workloads to the cloud and you’re doing so without the required skills to build or manage your cloud solution internally, Connection can be an invaluable partner. We have the skills and experience necessary to make your cloud solution a success – and to help you avoid expensive consequences from outages like Amazon’s.