Amazon Web Services are down – ever heard about second sourcing?

The Easter Bunny was right.

Don’t put all of your precious eggs in one basket.  Your mother and the Easter Bunny should have told you this.  There has been uproar this weekend due to a service failure affecting Amazons’ (NASDAQ: AMZN) cloud computing offerings.

People – and that includes many journalists – have been screaming that this is the end of cloud computing.  Let’s face it. Cloud computing is in many aspects just as vulnerable as a physical server in a data center, but it carries an additional number of advantages.

When you use cloud services like Amazon’s EC2 you typically save 75 % versus running a physical server in a data center. On top of that you get flexibility and the possibility to ramp up and down as your needs change.  Like a physical server there is the possibility of an outage, which is why any serious company using cloud computing operates with a plan B.

Instead of pocketing all of the 75 % that you save, some of it should go to building an alternative infrastructure that could be based on Google or some other provider.

Amazon’s SLA (Service Level Agreement) allows for 4 hours of downtime each year, but the outage in their Virginia data center has already hit some customers who have been down for several days

The problems for many end users  could have been alleviated if the customers had invested in the simple strategy called second sourcing. It is well know from the hardware business where many manufacturers will not use a component unless they can get a similar component from a second source, if the first one should fail to deliver.

The same goes for cloud computing.

There is nothing wrong with the concept – you just have to use your brain and some of the precious cash that you saved using cloud computing in the first place.S|A

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