The Amazon Outage in Perspective: Failure Is Inevitable, So Manage Risk

Now months away from the Amazon outage, Bernard Golden looks back to see what lessons can be taken away from the large failure of Amazon Web Services. That outage brought up questions about whether using cloud solutions was viable and intelligent to do for enterprises, and the twittersphere, blogs, and web sites were aflame with points and counter points about the answers to those questions. Golden, however, looks at it a different way: you have to expect that any service will eventually fail, and if so, how are you planning to deal with that eventuality? If software that helps you run your supply chain effectively exists with a third party vendor, you can't expect that vendor to always be working for the entire length of your relationship. Part of the frustration that came from the AWS outage is something that supply chain managers bump into whenever there is a problem: who exactly is supposed to take the blame. Golden explains it as such: Many people are outraged by this, feeling that a service provider should take responsibility for ensuring 100% (or at least “five nines”) of service availability. Amazon's attitude, they imply, is irresponsible. The right solution, they say, is that users should look to a provider that is willing to take responsibility and provide a service that is truly reliable, made possible by use of so-called “enterprise-grade” hardware and software backstopped by ironclad change control. Redundancy comes into play here ““ many providers of cloud services are already prepared with cheap and easy redundancy, something that otherwise takes time to implement in other services.

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