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.