December 30, 2014
The blue screen of death appears to be back — in a way. When it comes to public cloud services outages in 2014, most of the major providers showed an improvement over 2013, but the trend for Microsoft Azure showed the opposite.
According to a report card on TechTarget, cloud outages for most of the major providers are actually fairly rare. Sure, they tend to attract a lot of attention, particularly when outages take down critical cloud services (y’know, like Netflix), but the major cloud providers’ track records are, for the most part, improving.
But it’s not always the case. Although Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) fared the best overall of the major cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers with 2.43 hours of downtime total across all regions, based on reports from CloudHarmony, Microsoft Azure scored the worst with almost 40 hours of downtime. Some of Azure’s outages were high on people’s radar, and Microsoft itself has fallen under some heavy criticism this year for its downtime and, more importantly, its poor communication with its customers and partners when unscheduled downtime does occur.
As noted in a Talkin’ Cloud article back in August, Azure service interruptions have been on the rise. According to CloudEndure, for instance, Azure service interruptions were up 800 percent in the second quarter of 2014. It’s far from a number to be proud of; and it’s something some customers and partners are concerned about, for sure.
But overall, cloud services providers are showing improvements in their uptime. David Linthicum, senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners, was quoted in the TechTarget article as saying that improvements in uptime can generally be attributed to more experience, more data centers enabling better failover, additional automation, improved internal communication and more ability in spotting potential problems before they lead to outages.
As cloud continues to mature and the major cloud infrastructure providers gain more experience in the business, it seems likely that the amount of unscheduled downtime will continue to decrease. And hopefully Microsoft will get its act together and turn around the disturbing trend of greater Azure outage hours.
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