Amazon Web Services Outage: Cloud Computing Proof of Concept
In late April 2011, a huge outage amongst the cloud computing network from Amazon, called Amazon Web Services (AWS), happened after massive failures in the company's Virginia-based facilities literally shut down many businesses operating on the network. Opponents of the cloud computing paradigm were all over the outage as proof that cloud computing is bad for business.
Except it isn't and the outage proved exactly the opposite.
Quick Look at How Cloud Computing Works
The idea behind cloud computing is to diversify resources so that they are better managed and put to more use. Basically, it spreads resources and at the same time allows them to be used by more users, thus lowering costs.
There are two basic models for cloud computing: 'design for failure' and 'traditional.' Contrary to the title, the traditional model is actually becoming outmoded by the design for failure (DFF) model. The AWS was a mixture of both.
In traditional cloud architecture, geographic limitations mean that while the workload is spread amongst various systems, they must all be within a relatively small geographic area. It puts most of the weight of availability of resources on the infrastructure and redundancy within it. The down side to this model is that when an area-wide failure happens, the traditional cloud is likely to go with it.
In the DFF model, redundancy is removed from the infrastructure and spread the availability to a combination of software management and physical design. This allows for failures of single or multiple parts of the cloud to happen without destroying the cloud's availability and the applications and data on it. In the best DFF setups, data is spread to multiple locations and mirrored (saved in copies) in multiple locations geographically to avert catastrophic failure and data loss.Continued on the next page