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AWS Outage 2017

AWS Outage 2017
March 2, 2017 / Evolve IP

A Guide to Surviving a Public Cloud Outage

The AWS outage history has businesses evaluating whether or not the public cloud is the correct service for their organization. Certainly for the right organization or workload the public cloud has solid benefits. However, as 100,000 businesses experienced in the most recent AWS outage you need to be staffed, prepared and experienced to effectively manage the situation. Based on the horror stories that came out during the most recent outage not every firm or application belongs in the public cloud. Here are some key items to consider as you evaluate your next steps.

Public Vs Private Cloud – Pick the Right Kind of Failover Environment

During an outage you need to have a failover solution that fits how your business is staffed and operates in real life; not hypothetically. For many SMB and small enterprise organizations a hyperscale provider, such as AWS, makes for a poor choice for a live failover site. If you don’t have the staff and specific expertise to manage a total failure in the public cloud consider a managed Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) option. With managed DRaaS you literally make one phone call and say “switch us over” and your outage is over.

Balance Your Workloads

Hyperscale cloud solutions such as AWS are great for databases that are constantly updated, and can grow and contract exponentially on demand. But what about the sensitive data that is critical to the company’s operation literally every second of the day? These items require greater control and visibility, best suited to a secure VMware cloud environment.

Be Realistic About a Crisis

Think about what really goes on during an outage. The pressure. The anxiety. The unknown. Is this really the time you want to be navigating failover workarounds and multiple vendors? Those who opted for these kinds of DR options during the AWS outage have likely paid a steep price, learning hard lessons about data access and downtime.

Caution 1: The AWS Zone Spread – Beware this can be a data management headache, and offers no option for real-time cloning.

Caution 2: The Multiple Cloud Provider Spread – While it seems to make sense, you end up paying for multiple providers and give up the “single pane of glass” management options.

Suggestion: Unless you have unlimited bandwidth or lots of personnel, skip the hard work and heartache and opt for one, reliable DRaaS provider.

Revisit, Test (or Create) Your Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan

A live outage is the exact wrong time to enact your DR plan for the first time. Remember, your business is likely literally losing money by the minute, so getting back online right away is imperative. You need a plan in place before disaster has a chance to strike.

Testing 1, 2, 3 … If you have a plan and a reliable DRaaS provider in place, you’re all set, right? Not so fast! At least twice per year, test your DR plan by simulating an outage.

If you don’t have a plan, now is the perfect time to build one. We’ve created a Disaster Recovery Plan Template to help get you started.

Read the Fine Print

When selecting a cloud partner, carefully review the SLA regarding availability. Some AWS customers may have expected 100% availability, but Amazon never promised such uptime. Again, select the partner that meets specific needs for your industry and your specific business.

In Summary

Tech outages are a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ and when they do occur your internal stakeholders aren’t going to care about what hoops you need to jump through to get systems up and running again. While the public cloud may make sense as a failover for certain kinds of workloads, and/or firms with the expertise and staff to manage a total disaster, it’s not right for many organizations. For those businesses a managed DRaaS option can provide your infrastructure with rapid failover and you with peace of mind.

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