That's what happened to organizations relying on Microsoft's business cloud offering just weeks ago: The service, named -- in true Microsoft style -- Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, started to stutter around May 10. Drop those bulky servers and get yourself a big, white hard drive in the sky. Based on its promising technology, Nirvanix was able to raise $70 million in venture capital. Less than a month later, Intuit experienced another outage, further shaking customer confidence in its cloud services. Salesforce.com learned this the hard way when its data center shut down last January. Cloud computing systems today, whether open-source or used inside companies, are built using a common set of core techniques, algorithms, and design philosophies – all centered around distributed systems. "The market for cloud services has grown to such an extent that it is now a notable percentage of total IT spending, helping to create a new generation of start-ups and 'born in the cloud' providers.". Annoying? The downside? A power failure evidently caused things to go haywire, with the company's primary and backup systems getting knocked completely off the grid. The error started during a network upgrade, when a misrouted traffic shift sent a cluster of Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store) volumes into a remirroring storm, as they sought out available boxes into which they could insert backups of themselves -- perverse, I know. Cloud computing. Read this first, Sponsored item title goes here as designed, Amazon EC2 outage calls 'availability zones' into question, Tablet deathmatch: HP TouchPad vs. Apple iPad 2, Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report, cloud provider that's seen its fair share of outages, Lessons Netflix Learned From the AWS Outage, Replace your high-maintenance Exchange servers, Stay up to date with InfoWorld’s newsletters for software developers, analysts, database programmers, and data scientists, Get expert insights from our member-only Insider articles. This implies that the service is available, and performs in the way intended. Financial software vendor Intuit is known for popular cloud-based software products like Quicken, Quickbooks and TurboTax. Francis wasn't the only one caught off-guard. However, node failures in these platforms can impact the availability of their hosted services and potentially lead to large financial losses. 6: Microsoft's BPOS oops. -- they go down, too," says Tim Crawford, chief information officer of All Covered, a division of Konica Minolta. Major cloud-computing outages happen periodically. Cloud reliability is a measure of the probability that the cloud delivers the services it is designed for. Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user.The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the Internet. Two days later, just when it looked like BPOS was in the clear, the delay returned and outgoing messages started getting stuck in the pipeline, too. The reality is, of course, a mixed bag. Outages, hacks, bad weather, human error and other factors have led to some spectacular cloud failures. ]. Cloud Computing is not a solution to all the problems of an organization. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is known colloquially as "food stamps," uses Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to allow recipients to purchase food using their government benefits. However, in large enterprises failure is rarely seen as positive or even acceptable. In 2015, Amazon’s DynamoDB service, a cloud-based database, had problems that affected companies like Netflix and Medium. As a result, some stores simply stopped accepting EBT cards, leading to some very unhappy customers. "We were pretty blown away," says Nick Francis, whose startup, Help Scout, had launched just one week prior to Amazon's problem. Is that a reason to run, arms flailing, away from anything cloud-connected? Terremark's luck turned sour on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2010. They also faulted the developers for inadequate testing and a lack of oversight and accountability. To help keep your business pain-free in the cloud, we offer these hard-earned lessons at the hands of 10 of the worst cloud storms the Web has weathered. Almost immediately, users began experiencing difficulties, and some reports indicated that less than 1 percent of the people who wanted to sign up online were able to do so. "I'd also like to apologize for the obvious inconvenience of having to speak 15 syllables every time you say our service's ridiculous name," he probably should have added. Cloud-native computing. Think you have to be a Netflix-size business to stay safe? On October 1, 2013, the U.S. federal government rolled out HealthCare.gov, a new website intended to allow people to sign up to buy health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. Think again. Connect Directly 9 Spectacular Cloud Computing Fails For some of you, the cloud failures listed here may simply highlight areas where cloud service providers need to grow or adapt in order to better service their customers. We have to be realistic about it.". Google vice president of engineering Ben Treynor asked in a blog posted at the time. Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc. The key to survival? If you store everything in the cloud, you might not be able to access your data when outages and other failures occur. According to Deloitte , nearly half of these incidents resulted in “significant impairment to customer service, material financial losses, reputational damage or a regulatory breach” for survey respondents. "The cloud has been sold as this magical thing that just works and is totally reliable," says Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer of Rackspace, a cloud provider that's seen its fair share of outages. But the next morning, NA14 went down again, and customers could not access their Salesforce accounts for nearly an entire day. At the time, a company spokesperson said that the cloud-based service was processing an average of $2,000 in payments every second. We should remember that we can design systems taking into consideration multiple possibilities of failures; and, if well designed, nothing will really fail completely. Case in point: the T-Mobile Sidekick screwup, circa fall 2009. Organisations deploying SaaS applications often assume the vendor provides adequate data protection and they neglect the need for backup. The technology may have evolved since then, but the lesson remains the same: When it comes to crucial data, never assume someone else is automatically protecting you. … Microsoft’s Office 365 Cloud Disaster. "It's just that when you go to Web scale, the impact of failure is amplified in a much greater way. 2: The Sidekick shutdown. Google ended up having to turn to actual physical tape backups in order to restore the data. Complex systems have complex failures. [ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. In their rush to participate in this huge market, vendors have been quick to tout cloud successes. If that weren't enough, Microsoft experienced a separate issue that prevented users from logging into its Web-based Outlook portal as well. A power failure evidently caused things to go haywire, with the company's primary and backup systems getting knocked completely off the grid. Traditional Cloud Computing Basics. Apple said the attack occurred because attackers were able to guess or crack users' passwords. The … Not every cloud deployment has a happy ending. Here we take a look at some of the most high profile failures of recent years… Adobe’s Security Breach. The issue was resolved by restoring NA14 from a prior backup, which was not impacted by the file integrity issues. On August 3, 2009, PayPal's online payment service suffered a global outage for an hour, and after that, the service suffered partial outages for another three and a half hours. The company quickly moved affected workloads to one of its other cloud data centers and restored service. "We built an infrastructure around the idea that a host can and will fail, so we don't rely on any single machine or single component in the core architecture itself. Colossal cloud outage No. Their websites are filled with case studies explaining how various companies have reaped enormous benefits by embracing cloud computing. The most vexing problem of Cloud Computing is that these systems are complex, and the more complex system the more complex the failure. Colossal cloud outage No. For several hours on a busy Saturday, retailers had no way to determine the balances that shoppers had available on their EBT cards. ", Colossal cloud outage No. Software as a service. Most major cloud security failures are attributable to user error—typically misconfigured databases (i.e. PayPal said hardware failure was to blame. Cloud computing has become a huge market. "When you look at broad averages, the cloud will have a lot more operational success than you would as an individual," says AlertSite's Ken Godskind. A few months later in September of that year, Nirvanix notified customers that they had just two weeks to retrieve their data before the Nirvanix cloud storage service would shut down permanently. In 2007, the renamed company launched a product called the Storage Delivery Network, which included public, private and hybrid cloud storage capabilities. Large clouds, predominant today, often have functions distributed over multiple locations from central servers. “Everyone is doing it, so why shouldn’t we lift … "It's not necessarily that you have to duplicate everything, but even putting one extra step in there -- maybe backing up crucial data yourself -- can make all the difference. You could also take the extra step of spreading it among different providers as a failsafe. The service was completely unavailable for about an hour and remained spotty for several more. In 2013, Xerox was hosting the EBT systems for 17 states in its data centers. "The reality is that cloud-based data centers -- guess what? Learning how to preemptively troubleshoot applications, security, storage, and disaster recovery for your cloud means you’ll be able to move forward confidently, whether you’re still transitioning or facing difficulties in your current cloud operations. "Organizations using the cloud can't just assume that because it's in the cloud, all the responsibility for business continuity planning has somehow been transferred to the provider.". Network World | If you do that math, that comes out to $7.2 million in payments per hour. It took Microsoft three days to restore service for most of those users. Probably not. Share this item with your network: Many of these incidents had huge financial implications for the companies involved and their customers, while others were more of an embarrassment. 7 Reasons your cloud will fail While cloud can lead to key benefits, make sure you avoid these costly mistakes By Lawrence Schwartz, CMO, SoftwareONE. "Passive, opaque and stiff communication from Intuit didn't help. Designing your systems with these types of failures in mind. Intuit hit a rough patch last year when its cloud-connected services, including popular platforms like TurboTax, Quicken, and QuickBooks, went offline twice within a single month. ", Colossal cloud outage No. To Google's credit, it provided regular updates and promised a quick fix. Cloud Computing. Amazon’s cloud hosted Web Services experienced a catastrophic failure last week, knocking hundreds of sites off the web. It's a rare kind of outage, no doubt -- but with all the sales lost, this unfortunate interruption easily earns a spot in cloud computing's hall of shame. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. 9: The PayPal fall-down. What you gain in avoiding upkeep, you lose in control. Application incompatibility is also a common culprit behind cloud failure rather than the actual infrastructure of the cloud. "Our architecture avoids using EBS as our main data storage service, and the SimpleDB, S3, and Cassandra services that we do depend upon were not affected by the outage," Netflix engineers wrote in their "Lessons Netflix Learned From the AWS Outage" blog post. Stateless services and multiple redundant hot copies of data across availability zones were key to avoiding AWS cloud fail pain. Now, as an Enterprise Strategist for AWS, I am inspired by and can confirm Amazon’s reputation as a company that supports and even encourages failure. Time Warner Cable), and unsecured storage buckets (i.e. For others, the examples may be more personal, as your data or applications may have been affected. This slideshow highlights ten of the most noteworthy cloud computing failures. This is when the provider starts out or grows at a rate faster... Security flaws that hackers eventually expose. Crawford says successful cloud computing requires a different mind-set than traditional server setups: It's up to you, he suggests, to decide whether your business's data can endure occasional downtime -- and if not, to make sure your configuration has the resiliency needed to avoid it. In other cases, the stores allowed benefits recipients to use their EBT cards anyway, even though the store had no way to know how much money the customers had left to spend. Whether it’s a microenterprise or a large corporation – cloud computing has become widely accepted. Failures that plague cloud service providers tend to fall into one of three main categories: "Beginner mistakes" on the part of service providers. In short, the April outage of AWS services will bring the focus of cloud computing research and deployment to the importance of architecture and design. Here is an Article on Cloud Computing Service Failures and Disruptions. 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