VMware Joins Amazon in Cloud Outage Damage Control

VMware's Cloud Foundry, the company's fledgling cloud offering, suffered two brief outages last week.

The fallout from the Cloud Foundry outages was minimal compared to the damage caused by Amazon Web Services' four-day outage, which concluded early last week. Amazon's cloud service, which is significantly bigger than VMware's, powers some large Web infrastructures. In comparison, Cloud Foundry is only a few weeks old and is still in beta. Furthermore, the duration of VMware's outages -- in total, less than 12 hours -- was substantially shorter.

The first Cloud Foundry outage occurred last Monday and lasted about 10 hours. Those most impacted were new customers who received their credentials the previous evening, said VMware's Dekel Tankel in a blog post on Friday explaining the two outages.

Last Monday's outage was the result of all eight cloud controllers losing connectivity to a storage subsystem. The root cause was a "partial outage of a power supply in a storage cabinet which impacted access to a single LUN," Tankel noted.

The next day's outage occurred when an engineer touched a keyboard, which caused a complete outage of the network infrastructure fronting Cloud Foundry, according to Tankel. It was Cloud Foundry's first compete outage and lasted about 75 minutes.

"During this outage, all applications and system components continued to run," Tankel said. "However, with the front-end network down, we were the only ones that knew that the system was up. We take full responsibility for these issues and apologize to our users who were impacted by them. We can and will do better, having already learned from these incidents."

VMware debuted Cloud Foundry on April 12 as the first open Platform as a Service (PaaS). VMware offers its own hosted version of Cloud Foundry, aimed at letting developers build applications and run them on its service.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.