The Cloud just had a thunderstorm … now what?
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The Cloud just had a thunderstorm … now what?

By Denis Goodwin

We’ve all heard about and likely experienced the impact of the most recent Amazon S3 outage, and while it’s easy to pick on Amazon for the wide-spread fallout this outage caused, that’s not the point. Whether your business critical apps are hosted on AWS, Azure, GCP, or any other cloud or hosting platform, you need to be monitoring those apps. The impact of the AWS outage shows us how much companies rely on cloud and hosting providers, like AWS, for the critical applications their customers and employees use every day.

AlertSite data taken during the AWS outage shows an immediate 5X spike in errors and timeouts across customers apps hosted on AWS. AlertSite users received instant notification of these failures and were able to update their ‘unavailable’ pages, communicate the outage to their users, and in some cases reroute traffic to an alternate data center environment.

So now what? How do we all move forward? You can’t assume that cloud and hosting providers, no matter how stable they are in general, are going to be up-and-available 100% of the time. Therefore, we’ve put together three easy tips to better equip your business to be ready for the next inevitable service interruption.

° Identify your business critical applications – the AWS outage served as a wake-up call to many organizations who had some monitoring in place, but had many critical apps (both their own apps and third party SaaS apps) that weren’t being monitored, and therefore suffered extended end-user impact due to delayed downtime notification. There is no better time to inventory your critical apps and make sure you have a monitoring solution in place to mitigate the impact of future service interruptions.

° Proactively monitor user journeys on these applications – in order to get a complete picture of application health, you need to monitor your real user journeys through the application, not just ping a URL to see if it’s responding. Whether it’s your app or a 3rd party app, external monitoring is key to know immediately when something is down and identify which app is causing the problems.

° Don’t rely your third party provider to tell you when they are down – as reported by TechCrunch, “the status indicators on the AWS service status page rely on S3 for storage of its health marker graphics, hence why the site is still showing all services green despite obvious evidence to the contrary.” The old adage of ‘not putting all your eggs in one basket’ applies to decoupling monitoring from hosting to ensure you are ready to react in the case of a future service interruption.

 

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