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 ..."