Will the AWS outage make retailers think twice about cloud?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become the backbone of so many business-critical tools that it’s almost impossible to imagine the internet without it. So when AWS experiences a cloud outage like the one that occurred yesterday, the repercussions can be highly disruptive — and not “disruptive” in a good way.
The Amazon S3 storage service experienced problems Tuesday afternoon that affected a range of websites and services, as reported by TechCrunch. The S3 service hosts images, full websites and the back-ends of apps. Well known websites, including Business Insider and the file-sharing portion of Slack, were affected by the outage. Because the back-end of Nest is hosted on S3, users were reportedly unable to control their IoT home devices such as thermostats.
Cloud adoption can be a thornier issue in retail than in other spaces. With tech startups, for instance, leveraging the cloud provides a way to build out a tool without investing in expensive in-house infrastructure and the IT talent to maintain it. But retailers have been slower to adopt cloud solutions due to concerns over potential business disruption while migrating business-critical applications from legacy infrastructures. Other worries include being dependent on a third party for maintaining data security and concerns about ownership of business-critical data.
However, a study by IHL Group cited by RetailWire indicated that retailers plan to invest more of their software budgets on cloud solutions this year than last, intending to spend 34 percent of their budget on the cloud in 2017, up from 26 percent in 2016.
It is unclear whether there will be any long-term impact from yesterday’s outage. The AWS Service Health Dashboard indicated that the “increased error rates for Amazon S3” had been resolved as of 2:08 PM PST.
There have been a few widely reported AWS outages in recent years. In September 2015, a five-hour outage disrupted big-name websites like Netflix, IMDb and Reddit, as reported in The Register. And in 2016, weather-related power outages, backup generator failures and a technological glitch led to an extended outage in Sydney, Australia.
- Amazon AWS S3 outage is breaking things for a lot of websites and apps – TechCrunch
- Should retail still be nervous about the cloud? – RetailWire
- AWS outage knocks Amazon, Netflix, Tinder and IMDb in MEGA data collapse – The Register
- AWS blames ‘latent bug’ for prolonging Sydney EC2 outage – The Register
- Service Health Dashboard – Amazon Web Services
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should an AWS outage like the one that happened yesterday give pause to retailers considering cloud migrations? How should retailers judge the risk of using cloud services against outages and inefficiencies in their own in-house systems?