Impact of Thunderstorms On Cloud Computing ?

I am consulting in Ireland this week and the weather is not good, heavy rain and the occasional thunderstorm. What has this to do with Cloud Computing you may ask ? Well Microsoft and Amazon have their European data centres in Dublin, Ireland and at the weekend a lighting strike caused power supply failures at these data centres. This caused disruption to the EC2 services as well as Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Amazon began bringing EC2 instances back online after 3 hours and reported 60% restoration after 12 hours. Microsoft had restored all services within four hours. In addition to this a software error in Amazon’s european data centre has resulted in customers data being deleted by mistake. Some blocks in EBS snapshots were deleted when they should not have been. Amazon has emailed potentially affected customers and urged them to run the unix utility fsck which in some cases may restore ebs operation. For others data will be lost.

So overall, not a good week so far for Amazon. What these outages do is raise some of the factors that need to be considered when moving to the cloud. Failure and disaster recovery strategies need to be in place to ensure that the kind of problems Amazon and Microsoft users experienced this week minimise the disruption to business. These outages and software errors could easily have occurred in on-premise data centres, but with the cloud they are less expected.

To be able to properly appreciate the risks of Cloud Computing, an understanding of the technology and how it can be best deployed to minimise business risk is required. The Learning Tree Introduction to Cloud Computing course I authored covers these areas specifically. Attendees from business and technical backgrounds learn the different technologies and products available from the major vendors analyse their strengths, weaknesses and how to use them whilst minimising the risk to their organisations. If you are interested in learning about Cloud Computing, I encourage you to attend. I am confident that the knowledge you gain will be useful to you and your organisation.

Chris Czarnecki

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