Data Centers need to collaborate to avoid repeat Amazon Cloud Outage

Recent high profile crashes involving our favorite brands, should serve as a reminder how fragile the Internet and cloud-based services really are.  Amazon.com became the fourth major site and/or Internet service to go down in the past week. Amazon’s recent fall from grace was the latest in a litany of high-profile site crashes to have plagued the web in recent weeks and we’ve seen that even the most colossal of tech giants can suffer, following outages from both Google and Microsoft Outlook. “This is undoubtedly catastrophic for sales. In online retail terms, 45 minutes is a long time to be unavailable to customers, particularly for the biggest retailer in the world.

Luckily for Amazon, their cloud service – AWS – wasn’t affected, however outages of the world’s biggest computing cloud have affected some big names that rely on it in the past” said Daniel Foster of 34SP.com weighing in on the situation.  “You can bet Amazon’s engineers were frantically working to restore service as quickly as possible but it’s another reminder that even with the best of intentions, a massive budget and some of the most highly skilled technicians in the business, websites aren’t 100% reliable. 

“Amazon, at the very least, had a message to alert users to the problem. Communication really is key here; people are much more forgiving if they’re kept in the loop, but the reality is that we will never find out what happened at Amazon, or indeed any of the other high profile sites to suffer recent outages. Internally you can be certain there’ll be an in depth analysis of what went wrong at each of these companies, but ultimately it’s just that: an internal issue.”

The problem is with so much reliance being placed on these services, we are told to trust what is the solution when things go wrong?  Phil Turtle, CCO of Data Centre Alliance thinks Data Centers need to collaborate more. “Data Centres need to talk to each other more to avoid the sort of outages that have hit Google and Microsoft in recent weeks.”

“The data centre industry is relatively young, yet these outages demonstrate just how utterly dependent in it we all our for our business and personal lives. “Currently it exhibits too many ‘knowledge silos’ and an unnecessary fear of working together with competitors to share ‘best-practice’ – something mature industries find highly beneficial.

“Business Man Working On Cloud” by bplanet

Many data centres do not have the resources of a Google or a Microsoft, yet as we have seen even with their massive technological resources these giants can have problems.

We commend more data centre operators, service providers, and individual data centre professionals to join the Data Centre Alliance and to share experiences and expertise with their peers – to ensure that the entire industry can learn from these outage events and share the knowledge for the benefit of data centre customers and service-users globally.

Working together allows the pooling of resources to establish and codify best practice – not only to avoid outages but also to increase power efficiency, and provide reliable comparative measurements (a level playing field) to enable customers to properly compare data centres when they are searching. All of these are initiatives on which the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) is currently working. “How reliable a data centre is should be a ‘given’ and not a competitive edge,” said Turtle. “There are many other factors on which to compete and the industry needs to share knowledge in the same way that other critical industries like nuclear and air-transport for the greater good.”

As part of the first ever Europe-funded research project, PEDCA, into the training and in-depth needs of the industry – there is a free entry-level Data Center Alliance membership available at

“We call on the whole industry to work together to reduce major outages for the good of the industry and the customers who rely so totally on us,” said Turtle. DCA is also working on the skills shortage and recruitment difficulties faced by an industry largely staffed by professional in their fifties. Funded by two major data centre operators: Telecity and Telehouse plus training company CNet Training, DCA is currently running a pilot ten day intensive Boot Camp for graduates at the University of East London, to teach them the What? Why? and Where? of data centres  and the all-important skill of ‘critical-thinking’.

It is then planned to roll-out these Boot Camps internationally with the help of the industry’s training community for the benefit of the entire industry.

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