Cloud computing is growing in popularity and many businesses, both large and small, are turning to the cloud to host critical applications.

Amazon's EC2 is one of the most popular offerings but all it took was a single lightening strike to take part of the EC2 cloud down last night.

The problems apparently started shortly after 6:30 pm PST and lasted for three hours. According to the AWS Service Health Dashboard at the time:

A lightning storm caused damage to a single Power Distribution Unit (PDU) in a single Availability Zone. While most instances were unaffected, a set of racks does not currently have power, so the instances on those racks are down.

Even though this only impacted one Availability Zone, a number of EC2 customers seem to have questions about the redundancy that EC2 is supposed to offer and I think the incident is a good reminder that cloud computing is not a replacement for best practices on the customer end.

Far too many people seem to throw their applications into the cloud and expect them to fly come rain or shine. In reality, redundancy is not something that you can simply forget about just because you're hosting your applications in the cloud. Obviously how mission critical your applications are will determine what investments you make in setting up a redundant architecture but if you can't afford to risk the proverbial lightening strike, you had better think about redundancy on your own, cloud or no cloud.

Photo credit: El Garza via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 11 June, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (5)

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Andy Moore

I experienced the issues of cloud computing today as Toodledo (a to-do list/task manger I use) also had issues with lightening last night. I rely so much on my to-do list that today was the most un-productive day i've had since I started using it.

But, at the same time, how many times has a piece of software on your computer failed you, or even your computer itself just decides to pack up and stop working.

I don't think the cloud is that much worse, and it's only going to get better.

almost 9 years ago

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Egbert Veldhuis

It might be a good idea to check your providers SLA before signing a contract...

almost 9 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

the cloud doesn't (yet) do everything and make the tea for you too!

On the web performance side, clouds have real value in things like handling expected, seasonal traffic spikes witout needing excess hardware all year round - but the site owner is still responsible for managing the overall user experience in terms of slow downs and sporadic problems (ie ones hitting say 3% of users while the lucky rest don't suffer).

You do have to measure your own availability and web performance in terms of page and journey delivery, no matter whether your're a cloud -supported site or not.

Looking to the future, I'm sure 'simple' failures like these will be designed out fairly quickly and become rarer and rarer - indeed Amazon's engineers may right now be asking  why their engines didn't detect the downed racks and boot-up replacement instances on working ones.

Deri

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

the cloud doesn't (yet) do everything and make the tea for you too!

On the web performance side, clouds have real value in things like handling expected, seasonal traffic spikes witout needing excess hardware all year round - but the site owner is still responsible for managing the overall user experience in terms of slow downs and sporadic problems (ie ones hitting say 3% of users while the lucky rest don't suffer).

You do have to measure your own availability and web performance in terms of page and journey delivery, no matter whether your're a cloud -supported site or not.

Looking to the future, I'm sure 'simple' failures like these will be designed out fairly quickly and become rarer and rarer - indeed Amazon's engineers may right now be asking  why their engines didn't detect the downed racks and boot-up replacement instances on working ones.

Deri

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

expansion valve

I think it's a good idea

over 8 years ago

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