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A Crisis for Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services appears to be back online after one of the most significant outages in the short history of cloud computing.

As my colleague Jeff Schwartz reported today, Amazon Web Services seems to have finally gotten a handle on the problem at a Northern Virginia datacenter that left some organizations crippled for three days. High-profile companies affected by the incident included Foursquare, Reddit, Quora and HootSuite.

Here's the money quote from Jeff's story:

"Amazon's outage was significant enough that it will likely cause those who have reserved judgment over the use of cloud computing services to sustain those reservations. For others, it will place greater emphasis on service-level agreements and redundancy."

We're looking forward to Jeff's reporting on the details of a postmortem that Amazon is promising to post soon. For those inclined to favor cloud computing, the postmortem will include critical intelligence about best practices for end users. For those inclined against cloud computing, the postmortem should provide ammunition in their internal fights to keep data and infrastructure on premises.

Either way, the event has ramifications beyond Amazon's business. As one of the big three in the cloud, what Amazon does will affect how Google and Microsoft are perceived, and affect the reputations of all of the cloud's many smaller players.

How does this event change your approach to cloud computing? Let me know at

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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