Aussie business largely unaffected by Amazon EC2 outage

But Gartner analyst warns customers to go slow with Cloud deployments

Despite Amazon's Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) services in the US-EAST-1 Web services centre having experienced another outage, as well as issues with the Amazon Relational Database Service in Virginia, and left social networking sites such as FourSquare out of action, Australian businesses appear to be largely unaffected.

Australian-Canadian startup company LabSlice founder and chief technology officer, Simon Ellis, said the company had experienced “no issues” as a result of the outage.

"I did get an alert on our website that Amazon was non-contactable, but it seems to be up and running now," he said.

LabSlice, which uses EC2 Web hosting, offers services that enable businesses to create demos, evaluations, and training environments in the Cloud.

During the last outage in April, Ellis said it was bad for business.

Melbourne company Cyclopic Energy, who use EC2 services, were also lucky to be unaffected by the outage.

Gartner Australia research director, Rob McMillan, said that enterprise customers should "get to know their Cloud" and develop a relationship with the Cloud provider first before committing critical services.

"Cloud is a new type of IT delivery technology and despite some of the marketing hype that you come across, it's going to be subject to some of the same issues we've seen before in traditional types of delivery — and this is not the first Cloud outage we have seen," he said.

"Cloud is not going to be all things to all people but what it offers you is IT delivery on demand, but that doesn't mean it's going to offer 100 per cent up time."

McMillan said for organisations that are very experienced in complex IT deployments, this latest outage would come as no surprise and he did not think there would be much fallout for Amazon.

"Nothing is bullet proof, and marketing is the last thing those organisations would read,” he said.

“It's note worthy that Amazon had an outage but it would not change those people's views.” Where Amazon may have a branding issue is those people who are not experienced with deployments and may have interpreted some of the promises to do with Cloud as meaning 100 per cent availability and that will cause them a bit of a surprise."

However, McMillian pointed out that Amazon was not the only Cloud provider to have had outage issues.

"People will realise that Cloud has its advantages and limitations, so it now depends on how much we are prepared to pay and what type of vendor we are after," he said.

“Applications where you need a relatively high degree of availability are fine to put in the Cloud. It's the ones that are critical that need more control.

“Our advice is to start off slowly and deploy the ones that are increasingly important over time.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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