Amazon’s AWS Outage Shows How Its Complex Cloud Makes Backup Plans Difficult


Major companies using Amazon’s data services received a painful lesson this week in how the complexity and market dominance of the company’s cloud unit make it difficult to back up their data with other providers, analysts and experts.

heroine Said in a “loss of many network devices” Amazon Web Services (AWS) The Virginia data center area caused a prolonged outage Tuesday. The outage temporarily disrupted the streaming platform Netflix And Disney+trading app Robin Hood And even Amazon’s own e-commerce site, which makes heavy use of AWS.

An Amazon spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday that the issues had been resolved.

The huge trail of damage caused by a network problem in a single region that AWS calls “US-EAST-1” underscores how difficult it is for companies to spread their cloud computing around.

With 24.1 percent of the overall market, Amazon is the world’s largest cloud computing firm, according to research firm IDC. likes rivals Microsoftalphabetical Google, And Oracle AWS is trying to entice customers to use parts of their cloud, often as a backup.

But creating a complex online service that can be easily moved from one provider to another in an emergency is far from simple, said Naveen Chhabra, a senior analyst at research firm Forrester. Rather than being a singular “cloud,” AWS is actually made up of hundreds of different services, from basic building blocks like computing power and storage to advanced services like high-speed databases and artificial intelligence training.

Any website, Chhabra said, could use several dozen of those individual services, each of which must work for the site to function. Creating a backup on another cloud provider is difficult because some services are owned by AWS and some work very differently on other providers.

“It’s like saying, ‘Can I put an SUV body on a sedan chassis?’ Maybe, if everything is the same and the line up is there. But there is no guarantee,” Chhabra said.

Another issue that makes it hard for businesses to diversify is that AWS makes it relatively cheap to send data to its cloud, but then takes on rival “exclusion fees” to get data out of its cloud. charges high prices for.

“It exacerbates issues (outages) like these when they occur,” said Matthew Prince, chief executive of Internet security firm Cloudflare, “A more resilient cloud is one where withdrawal fees are eliminated and customers are multi-cloud.” can. I think that will really increase customer confidence in the cloud.”

dependency in one area

AWS has significant “dependencies” within its services, where they are linked together that can cause one to fail if one fails, said Angelique Medina, head of product market Cisco’s thousand eyes. This is because AWS’s complex services are often built on top of its more basic services. A problem that comes with a basic function like networking can arise through services that depend on it.

At the start of the incident on Tuesday, AWS said the outage was affecting “some of our monitoring and incident response tooling, which is delaying our ability to provide updates.”

Medina said AWS also thinks it has important services in its US-EST-1 region, where another outage last year also had a massive impact.

“That’s where a lot of their important dependencies are historically located,” Medina said. “Over time, they’ve diversified a bit.”

Forrester analyst Chhabra said Amazon has done a lot of the “heavy lifting” of making its services flexible. But what Amazon doesn’t do for its customers is build applications that can withstand an outage by tapping multiple locations or providers.

Doing so can often involve extra work that may not always be worth it when cloud outages remain relatively rare.

β€œIt is always this tradeoff between something that is decentralized, something that is secure and something that is usable,” said Charlie Fee, Product Lead, Inter Blockchain Communications Lead at the Interchain Foundation. “It’s not something where you’ll ever find a perfect solution that meets all three.”

Β© Thomson Reuters 2021


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