Big Storage 'Clouds' Much Less Manageable

Scaling up a cloud storage service is hard to do. As an alternative, enterprises can look for smaller storage service providers or even build their own custom clouds.

People are talking about the Amazon S3 fiasco of the evening of July 20 and what the long- and short-term implications of this breakdown might be for this popular storage service.

Amazon.com's Amazon Simple Storage Service was beset by unexplained outages for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours Sunday night.
Users of Amazon S3 and Amazon Simple Queue Service in Europe and the United States were out for various windows of time. It was a lucky break that wasn't a high-transaction business day here in the United States, or it might have elicited a great many more complaints.
eWEEK's Michael Hickins was one of the first to blog on this subject. Here is Amazon.com's own report.
These online storage services are like electricity or water supplies: When there's an outage, there's nothing a consumer or enterprise can do about it, and all activity comes to a dead halt. A growing number of businesses now depend fully on the Amazon S3 service to store data and to run applications.
The outage, like a similar one at Amazon.com in February 2008 and a big one that hit the 365 Main co-location center in San Francisco in July 2007 that knocked Craigslist, RedEnvelope and Charles Schwab off the Web for several hours, bruises the trust that enterprises place in these companies' services. None of those customers left 365 Main, however, because the co-location center came clean with an explanation of what happened the very next day.
365 Main's backup generators didn't function as they were supposed to after a transformer explosion cut off power to the downtown San Francisco data center. 365 Main has made major upgrades to its system as a result and has not had even a minor outage in the past 12 months.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...