July 5, 2012

2 Min Read
Amazon Web Outage: Cloud Still Beats Most IT Departments

By samdizzy

cloud vs on premises technology

When Amazon Web Services suffered a weather-related outage on Friday, big cloud customers like Netflix, Instagram and Heroku felt the impact. But here’s the thing: Big cloud service provider (CSP) outages are increasingly rare. And I’m willing to bet the average corporate IT department can’t match the average CSP in terms of scalability, reliability and cost of services.

The Huffington Post reported that Amazon’s outage — caused by heavy thunderstorms in Virginia — “exposes risks of cloud computing.” But I bet if you surveyed every Global 2000 CIO, most of their on-premises servers, storage and compute networks can’t match the reliability of most cloud services during a typical month.

Amazon had another big outage back in April 2011, meaning it’s been more than a year since the media has had a chance to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about Amazon Web Services and the broader cloud computing trend.

Meanwhile, smaller cloud services providers continue to improve their track record for reliability. Autotask, which offers a cloud-based business management system to MSPs, recently crowed about its reliability and minimal unplanned downtime during a partner conference in Orlando, Fla. And Intermedia, the latest independent hosted Exchange provider, now offers a five-nines SLA for its cloud email service.

Try getting five-nines reliability from an internal email system. Can you? I doubt it.

Instead of fearing cloud outages, channel partners should explore and implement cloud-based business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Related services  allow you to spin up virtual instances of customer networks in the cloud. How’s that for ironic: Instead of suffering from reliability concerns, the cloud is emerging as a preferred platform for business continuity.

That’s progress. But we’ll still see FUD reports each time a big cloud goes dark. Nobody likes downtime. But I still believe cloud services, overall, suffer far less unplanned downtime than on-premises services. And don’t forget: Most small businesses can’t afford to buy on-premises infrastructure that attempts to match the cloud’s on-demand horsepower.

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