Two outages in June show concerns about reliability
There have been discussions in the past about the value of moving your business needs to the “Cloud” as a cost cutting option for both large and small businesses. This is due to the idea of paying for services as you consume them instead of flat fee charges for servers and storage. This business model reduces costs for many businesses and often moves you to a more reliable platform than either hosting it yourself or hosting at a bargain hosting company. The “Cloud” is supposed to allow you to scale up as needed for resources for the occasional spikes in traffic you might see. But, what happens if the cloud services you rely on go down?
For those who rely on Amazon’s AWS cloud, you experienced two separate outages in June. And with that, your web sites were not available during the down time. The key value with the Cloud is the belief that you have more reliability in keeping your site up and available. But with 2 separate instances, June 14th and June 29th, those impacted by both outages really need to re-evaluate their Cloud strategy. For some, they have made a decision to move their Cloud services from Amazon, such as dating site What’s Your Price.
For the outage on June 29th, some very big web sites went down including Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix. For these to be down is a big deal, especially Netflix as the outage cost them money. And this is not the first time Amazon’s AWS service has suffered a serious outage. The previous one was April 2011. Even Google suffered a Cloud outage with Gmail last year. So, as a small business owner who either is taking advantage of the Cloud or desires to move your web sites to the Cloud, what are your options?
For larger companies, there is the option of having your site hosted my multiple Amazon locations so that if one location goes down, you are not impacted. But there are costs associated with that and for a small business, not exactly something one can afford. With the problems at Amazon, it may be that they are having bigger issues with reliability than some other Cloud providers. If that is the case, there will be far more companies moving to other Cloud providers.
As a small business owner, your have limited other resources in your decision process to figure out what to do. If you are not well versed in Cloud computing, start with Cloud Computing Tips for Small Business. This should help fill in some of the pieces and provide you with a better understanding of what to look for.
In the end, the decision to host the web part of your business in the Cloud is going to come down to a personal decision as to what you can live with. If you can live with occasional outages for your web site in exchange for reducing your technology costs, then the Cloud is the way to go. If you cannot, they you need to look at other options to meet your needs. In the end, there is always risk of down time whether it is in the Cloud, hosted by a smaller hosting company or hosted at your location.