Should You Trust The Cloud?

October 24, 2012 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

What is the cloud you ask? A big fluffy mass in the sky that produces rain? Nope, today we’re talking about the IT Cloud, the massive infrastructures that various companies use. I can promise that you’ve come to interact with the cloud in one way or another. For example, of you use Dropbox uses it’s own cloud infrastructure to store all of your saved files. Amazon has it’s own web hosting could infrastructure called Amazon Web Services (AWS) that spans over a ton of servers , and websites such as Reddit, Imgur, and Minecraft for example are all hosted on AWS. Their cloud service is so simple to setup and scale and you don’t have to worry about actually buying physical servers and housing them, and paying utilities for them to run. It is so easy and so simple to setup, why wouldn’t you go that route? Now, what happens if part of the cloud fails?

Earlier this week, part of the AWS framework has some performance degradation, which in turn brought down a number of websites that used the AWS server. The Amazon Elastic Block Service (ESB) is used for dynamic storage, you use these as your hard drives for the servers hosted through AWS. This service started to degrade in Amazon’s Virginia data-center, servers were breaking left and right, there was a mass amount of data corruption, and sites were dropping like flies. Reddit was down for hours, Imgur was down, Minecrafts authentication servers broke and you couldn’t properly authenticate to play. Granted, not everything failed, I personally have a single web server with a single ESB storage block hosted in Virgina and it was fine, but the bigger sites with huge infrastructure were definitely affected. It took hours for the server team at Amazon to figure out their problem and fix it, and even more hours for other organizations server teams to fix whatever damages and data loss that may have occurred. Just imagine the amount of headaches all of these server administrators had to deal with when this happened, no fun. Heroku, another web application hosting server that uses a cloud infrastructure  had database failures as well, causing a number of websites to fail because they couldn’t connect to their databases. Again, more headaches.

So, now with all of this information, would you trust the cloud? Yeah, it makes life simpler, but you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If you have your network on Amazon Web Services, do what you need to do to have your backups on a separate system. Even though the cloud is somewhat distributed, you don’t always want to place 100% trust in one object.

I hope you enjoyed this article on the cloud! Be sure to take the extra credit quiz now that you’re done reading!

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. philprof  |  October 25, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Access to the Net can be disrupted for fairly long periods — for example by a massive power outage that takes weeks to repair. That actually happened not too long ago in southern Indiana. In that case, it might not help if your data was stored on many different servers, because you couldn’t get access to any of them.

    Reply

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