Are you a user of Quora, FourSquare or Reddit? If so then you might have already experienced the Amazon EC2 Public Cloud service failure. Being a user of two of the above services FourSquare & Reddit I can tell you they were affected on the April 21st, 2011 for over 20 hours for sure. Ok, so what has happened? All these companies are utilizing the Public Cloud offering from Amazon EC2. While things have been good at Amazon EC2 these companies has enjoyed the service, but when someone has decided to trip the wire at the Amazon EC2 at 1:41 a.m PDT April 21st at an AWS (Amazon Web Services) data center in Northern Virginia 100s of companies were affected, but the affect has spread to millions of users as many popular services like FourSquare, Quora, & Reddit has been affected by this major service interruption which has lasted for more than 30 hours. Further, many of these companies has lost a good amount of money due to this interruption that could not be recovered for.
One funny thing (that makes me wonder) I just read at http://mobile.eweek.com/c/a/Cloud-Computing/Will-Amazon-EC2-Outage-Negatively-Affect-Attitudes-Toward-Cloud-Nah-733964/ is the following: “Note, by the way, that this outage does not actually violate their SLA. Their SLA defines unavailability as a lack of external connectivity to EC2 instances, coupled with the inability to provision working instances. In this case, EC2 was just fine by that definition. It was Elastic Block Store [EBS] and Relational Database Service [RDS] which weren’t, and neither of those services have SLAs.” <== The way this SLA was written will teach many of these companies to make sure they read the SLA they sign very carefully the next time, as they will need to explain to their shareholders how they will recover up for the loss caused by this service disruption that Amazon EC2 will not help them recover for as it does not violate their SLA. What an SLA!!!!
Another funny thing I have read at the same blog post above, that Amazon has the right to shutdown your service at their discretion if for any reason they see it necessary or against their policy. By the way most Public Cloud Providers has the same policy, which mean they can out of the blue unplug the wire. Which means to you “You might get shut down [at any time] using the cloud. Just manage it.”. If you are further utilizing a Public Cloud Provider that has no interoperability with other Cloud Providers and where you can’t replicate his run environment at your Private Cloud you will be totally toss. If at least you had a provider which utilize something like VMware vCloud then at least you can go and deploy your infrastructure to another provider or build your own Private Cloud without having much of trouble doing all your coding again from scratch which you would have to do in case of a locked Public Cloud Offering. Actually with the VMware vCloud offering you might already have the catalog require to deploy at a press of a click to another VMware Compatible Cloud which work very well as your back up plan.
The question that will pop up, shall we avoid Cloud Computing? Was Cloud Computing a bad idea all from the start. I mean you add the risk that you are under the mercy of the Cloud Provider & a shared infrastructure when it come to Availability & Security. As well your response to service interruption is totally locked to how the Public Cloud provider response.
I don’t think CIOs will stop approaching Cloud Computing in the future due to the agility & cost benefit of it, but I think they will be more aware of how to choose their Cloud offering. They will make sure they read their Cloud Computing provider SLAs in more depth and ensure it match their required availability/Security needs. They will even look closer at a Hybrid Cloud model, where they have the safety net to run their critical applications back at their private cloud or even at a different compatible cloud provider while their primary Cloud provider service is back to normal. All these elements in my believe will increase the push behind Hybrid Cloud and Cloud offering that allow you the freedom to run across multiple Cloud Providers & across your Private Cloud . Further, it will force Cloud Vendors SLAs to be more clear & protect the Cloud Consumers in a better fashion.