Cloud Outages | All Providers Aren’t Created Equal

Amazon Web Services has led the way in reliability in recent years, with Microsoft recording the most unscheduled downtime among the major cloud players.

Aldrin Brown, Editor-in-Chief

September 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Cloud Outages  All Providers Arent Created Equal

The reliability of cloud service can vary significantly from provider to provider.

A 2015 report from cloud benchmarking service CloudHarmony found that Amazon’s EC2 compute service was the most reliable infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), with an uptime performance of 99.9974 percent during the year prior, InformationWeek reported.

Translated, that means the main Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud computing service was down just 2.01 hours in 2014.

AWS’ “S3” cloud storage recoreded 99.9951 percent uptime, or 2.69 hours of annual downtime.

Next among the largest cloud players was Google Compute Engine, which tallied a 99.9814 percent uptime performance.

That amounts to 3.4 hours of downtime in 2014.

For cloud storage, Google proved the leading provider with a 99.9996 percent uptime that left the service unavailable for just 14.23 minutes that entire year.

Both providers’ SLAs promise customers a minimum uptime of 99.95 percent.

On the other side of the spectrum is Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform. The compute service showed an uptime of 99.9374 percent in 2014.

That means Microsoft Azure was unusable by customers for nearly 43 hours, or well over a day and a half that year.

Its Object Storage cloud service was also the least reliable of the biggest players, with an availability of 99.985 percent, or nearly 11 hours of downtime.

To its credit, Microsoft makes public within days of an outage a detailed report of what went wrong.

Following a multi-day outage of CRM giant’s software-as-a-service products in May, the CEO of one affected company told InformationWeek that the event had shaken his confidence in the vendor, but not in the efficacy of cloud. 

"I have never had this issue with any other software-as-a-service or even on-premises software where you could control your own issues," Mark Smith, who also serves as chief research officer at business consulting firm Ventana Research, was quoted as saying. "They cost companies, including mine, a whole day of work in revenue growth and selling, customer service, operations, billing, and overall productivity…and have offered nothing for the screw up."

To research and compare cloud providers and services, visit CloudHarmony’s Cloud Square dashboard.

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About the Author(s)

Aldrin Brown

Editor-in-Chief, Penton

Veteran journalist Aldrin Brown comes to Penton Technology from Empire Digital Strategies, a business-to-business consulting firm that he founded that provides e-commerce, content and social media solutions to businesses, nonprofits and other organizations seeking to create or grow their digital presence.

Previously, Brown served as the Desert Bureau Chief for City News Service in Southern California and Regional Editor for Patch, AOL's network of local news sites. At Patch, he managed a staff of journalists and more than 30 hyper-local and business news and information websites throughout California. In addition to his work in technology and business, Brown was the city editor for The Sun, a daily newspaper based in San Bernardino, CA; the college sports editor at The Tennessean, Nashville, TN; and an investigative reporter at the Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA.


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