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The Unknown Costs of a Data Center Outage

Depositphotos_132103410_l-2015-(3).jpgUnless you live under a rock or off the grid, you’re probably aware of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage that occurred on Feb 28th, 2017. AWS, projected to be a 14 billion dollar business in 2017, leases out computing and data storage for companies of all sizes across the globe.

The AWS outage lasted mere hours but caused plenty of grief for those affected by its repercussions. It represented countless hours of work that could not be completed, services that could not be used, and products that were unavailable to web users.

What Happened?

To put it mildly, AWS suffered an outage causing a disruption of service for a multitude of cloud-based services for up to 6 hours on that fateful Tuesday afternoon. 24 different services hosted in a Northern Virginia data center fell victim to the outage which in turn caused hundreds of cloud-based websites and services to timeout, error and just plain not work.

Amazon blamed human error for the outage, citing that an employee who was debugging an aspect of the billing system took more servers offline than intended. Once the servers were down, it created a domino effect and took hundreds of popular cloud-based websites and platforms down with it.

Some of these popular sites include Netflix, Expedia, Airbnb, Tinder and many more. This left web users unable to visit their favorite sites or connect with their cloud-based data.

Many consumers took to the web to air their frustrations with the troubled AWS services on sites that still worked, like Twitter. Others wondered why sites like DownDector and the AWS Dashboard didn’t update with outage info. Well, surprise-surprise, these services were also affected by the outage as they’re powered by S3 (Simple Storage Service) which serves as one of the oldest and most popular components of the AWS platform.

Once the outage was detected, and the magnitude of the missing services and sites was revealed, AWS worked as fast as possible to bring the services back online - but some sites were still unavailable for many hours into the evening.

Will Another Outage Happen?

The short answer, probably.

There’s no guarantee that a service outage like this will not happen again. In fact, these types of service interruptions happen quite frequently due to human error, power disruptions, and many other issues. However, there are typically redundant systems and operations in place to keep the public from seeing the result of these outages.

Data centers like this also tend to have multiple backup power supply measures in place to deter a loss of data in the result of a major power outage.

Keep Your Data Safe With Generator Pros

There is no telling how much time and money was wasted during the few short hours of the AWS outage. Perhaps we’ll never really know.

But what we do know, is that the downsides to losing or not being able to connect with important data can be catastrophic. Not only is it a hassle (and sometimes impossible) to gather the information again, there’s also the potential for a loss of consumer faith in your company which can ultimately lead to a loss of income. Neither you, nor your customers will be happy if your data is compromised or, even worse, unrecoverable.

So don’t get left in the dark. Make it a priority to work with knowledgeable, experienced professionals like the team at Generator Source when delivering your data center reliable, uninterrupted power.


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