Important to Think About Engineering

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-04-26 Print this article Print


Ed Laczynski, vice president of cloud strategy and architecture at Datapipe, a New Jersey-based provider of managed IT and hosting services that uses AWS for one of its offerings, told eWEEK that the AWS story "shows how important it is to think about engineering when you're designing systems for the cloud."

"Those [enterprises] that hadn't designed their cloud in Amazon for high availability suffered  in the regional zones that were affected," Laczynski said. "A lot of the hype around cloud is that it's super easy, you just spin up servers, it just works, I don't have to worry about anything, etc., that was broken, for sure.

"If you look at the documentation, best practices and so on of the people doing it [cloud] best, they're all designing for failure [to happen]. For us, it was an opportunity to test that concept. Our customers that are deployed on AWS suffered only minimal disruption, if any at all, because we designed for it."

Lydia Leong of Gartner Research wrote in an advisory that Amazon EC2 didn't actually violate its service-level agreement when the outage occurred.

"Amazon's SLA for EC2 is 99.95 percent for multi-AZ deployments," Leong wrote. "That means that you should expect that you can have about 4.5 hours of total region downtime each year without Amazon violating its SLA.

"Note, by the way, that this outage does not actually violate their SLA. Their SLA defines unavailability as a lack of external connectivity to EC2 instances, coupled with the inability to provision working instances. In this case, EC2 was just fine by that definition. It was Elastic Block Store [EBS] and Relational Database Service [RDS] which weren't, and neither of those services have SLAs."

Humor Out of Chaos

Finally, in the midst of all the pain that IT managers had to endure these last five days, there  came a bit of humor.

On the RationalSurvivability Website, hosted on AWS, blogger Christofer Hoff poked a little fun at the situation by reworking the following new lyrics to Don McLean's folk-rock classic, "American Pie":

"A long, long time ago ...
I could launch an instance
How that AMI used to make me smile
And I knew if I needed scale
that I'd avoid that fail whale
though I knew that I was in denial

"But April 20 made me shiver
Amazon did not deliver
Bad news - oh what a mess
auto-cloning E B S ..."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel