When things go wrong

Recent Issues With Amazon S3 And The Fallout From It

Considering recent Amazon S3 woes, what if an organisation put all their IT in the cloud and something goes wrong?

Below is how the conversation goes.

IT Director – “We are sorry to inform you that Amazon S3 is down and we are unable to do anything about it.”

Staff – “What about the tenders, invoices, and orders we need to process?”

IT Director – “As I say there is nothing we can do now.”

FD – “We have 3,000 staff sitting idle can you hurry things along as it’s costing us money.”

IT Director – “I’ve done all I can and I thought we’d checked everything.”

FD – “Whilst you decided to move everything out of the business into the cloud, did you not plan for such an event?”

IT Director – “We’re paying for 99.99999% uptime which is the best you can get.”

FD – “I know, I’ve seen the bills.”

MD – “Can’t access emails for a lunch date any ideas?”

IT Director – “We have an outage at Amazon S3.”

MD – “Well go and fix it.”

IT Director – “I can’t we don’t own any of the systems.”

MD – “Why?”

IT Director – “They look after our data and host our applications in the cloud and we have 99.99999% uptime.”

MD – “Now we have 0.00000% downtime, 3,000 staff doing nothing and a wage bill of £240,000 per day to pay. You need to put in a claim for this.”

IT Director – “We can’t.”

MD/FD – “Why not?”.

IT Director – “It’s written into the SLA.”

MD/FD – “So how long do you think it will be down for?”

IT Director – “Could be an hour, could be a day, no idea really.”

MD – “What happened to having our data accessible to the business?”

IT Director – “We moved it to the cloud to save money and reduce IT expenditure from a CAPEX to an OPEX.”

MD – “So we have nothing here to provide users access to our data?”

FD – “We upgraded our WAN links at considerable cost to ensure our users could access data.”

IT Director – “Nope, it out of our hands and in the cloud providers.”

MD – “I think you need to go and talk to personnel and security to sort out your severance package.”

Summary

The cloud whilst allowing business to create applications and share information must understand that it’s not perfect.  As the head of IT, just because you have moved IT offsite doesn’t mean you can wash your hands if something goes wrong.  It’s a fine balance between Budget/Skills/Business requirements to have available the most frequently accessed information and applications.  As users of Amazon S3 recently found out it completely crippled many businesses for 5+ hours, people even lost control of their heating!

Having IT replicated to a different cloud provider or some IT systems and data on-premise clearly makes more sense.

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