Did Amazon Outage Kill the Cloud?
A partial outage of Amazon’s cloud-based hosting services in April prompted some high-tech pundits to make dire predictions. They called the outage a major setback with consequences for years to come.
It’s as if Amazon had all but extinguished the cloud. Was the failure damaging? Yes, but to the point of significantly slowing what is bound to be a massive wave of adoption? Certainly not.
We live in a world where everything gets amplified. Ironically, that’s because technology itself has made the delivery of information so immediate. And, of course, often what may seem catastrophic at first loses intensity after we’ve had a while to think.
This applies to the Amazon case, which actually presents a teaching moment to solution providers as they persuade clients to embrace the cloud. Leveraging technology advances requires a healthy dose of opportunism, and an opportunity is certainly what Amazon has unwittingly delivered to solution providers with its service outage.
Before the dear reader concludes I’ve gone off the deep end about this, let’s dial back a few short years when we were being bombarded with news of web security breaches. Some notorious cases sank businesses and forced the industry to reevaluate its ability to protect confidential data. Stringent regulations were put in place to force organizations to protect data and punish those that failed to comply.
But as scary as some of those web security breaches have been, in some cases leaking Social Security numbers and credit card information, here’s what they couldn’t accomplish: a stop to the relentless increase in web-based business. Think about it, did you stop using the Web for business as a result of those breaches?
If you are anything like me, I bet you became more judicious about which sites and services to use. If you are looking to make a purchase and you come across a website with a good deal, you’ll research the site first before keying in your credit card information. If the site checks out, you’ll go ahead with the transaction.
Just as Web security breaches haven't turned us away from the internet, even as they continue, I seriously doubt that occasional cloud service outages will hurt the progress of cloud computing. Let me add a caveat: This would change if we saw chronic shortages for a period of time.
What we saw as a result of the security breaches was an effort to implement better security policies and technology. Much of that work has been handled by solution providers.
With cloud computing, we are bound to see a similar pattern. End users are curious about the cloud, and bean counters like the prospect of an IT infrastructure that reduces costs while increasing flexibility and scalability. That does not change as a result of service outages, but it puts added pressure on solution providers in making a case for cloud-based services.
And here’s where the opportunity lies for solution providers. When clients voice concerns about reliability and the safety of their data, solution providers have a chance to point out that while the cloud opens new options, clients are still better served by sticking with their provider.
The provider is still in the best position to know the customer’s business and IT environment, to work together with the customer in deciding which cloud services are better suited to current business needs and to support future goals. Providers can allay client fears by guiding them when appropriate to private cloud environments, which replicate public cloud offerings within network walls, or to a mix of public and private cloud services.
This is an opportunity to demonstrate value for the client and differentiate yourself from faceless web-based brands. Solution providers must not squander the opportunity worrying about whether Amazon has killed the cloud. The prognostications that Amazon delivered a major setback to the cloud are premature at best, if not completely off the mark. But it will take hard work by solution providers to ensure that is the case.
Pedro Pereira is a columnist for Channel Insider and a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.