Amazon data center outage casts cloud over cloud

Server problems in a data center located in Virginia left several companies offline for days.

Apr 25th, 2011

The outage of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which began on Thursday April 21 and by some measures will never actually end, for some will cast a cloud over "the cloud."

As of 1:09 pm Pacific Daylight Time on Monday, April 25, the Amazon Web Services Service Health Dashboard indicated: "We have completed our remaining recovery efforts and though we've recovered nearly all of the stuck volumes, we've determined that a small number of volumes (0.07% of the volumes in our US-East Region) will not be fully recoverable. We're int he process of contacting these customers."

A report from ComputerWorld's Sharon Gaudin indicates that Amazon is undertaking an ongoing effort to pinpoint the exact cause of the outage, which occurred due to problems with servers in Amazon's data center in Northern Virginia.

PC World's Tony Bradley penned an article (although we bet he never actually used a pen throughout the entire writing process ... ) about this outage demonstrating the risks associated with cloud computing. In it, Bradley says advocacy for cloud computing sounds is like "a travel brochure or a military recruiting speech" -- full of benefits but lacking any potential down sides. Despite the Amazon outage, he says, organizations should not just avoid using cloud computing but rather should regard it "like any other technology your company relies on."

You can visit Amazon's Service Health Dashboard here. It contains an updated log of the EC2 facility outage.

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