Tonight, these sites and perhaps hundreds more died. At least temporarily.
The Internet was ablaze (almost ironically) tonight when a massive storm on the East Coast caused a power outage that affected Amazon’s “Amazon Web Services” cloud server system. AWS is what power so many sites and services these days. It’s their reliability, scalability, cost and speed that have so many startups jumping to their system.
However, tonight highlights what happens when you rely on a single fail point. What’s the adage? “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Well tonight it was a single Amazon server location’s power outage that has many of the most popular sites offline. Amazingly, Twitter is not one of the sites shutdown.
Once the power is back on, or once Amazon starts shifting bandwidth and syncing servers, all of these sites will be back up and running. What’s disappointing is that even though Amazon has tons of servers all over the country, it only took one power outage to cripple their system.
Until they do, it’s not only annoying, it’s losing these companies tons of money. Oh and did you know this happened a week and two weeks ago? That enterprise cloud service Google’s releasing is looking sexier.
Having a backup in place is elementary. Even I, a simple blogger running WordPress, know better than to put all my eggs in one basket. I offload a ton of my bandwidth to Amazon’s cloud servers because their fast and reliable. However, when they go down, shouldn’t my site go down? Not in my case. I had a backup in place.
In fact, I use Amazon to literally backup all of my sites and databases as well. Those backups are mirrored and chronicled on two other locations. I wrote about my process over there. I wonder how many people cache/run their site off of AWS and backup their site on AWS. I’d wager more than we’d like to believe.
At the very least tonight is a wakeup call to web services that rely on a single cloud. A hurricane, earthquake, tornado, wildfire, flood… Any of these alone can cause these sorts of outages. There’s got to be a smarter way to run these clouds. If not, maybe we’re not ready for a cloud-based life.