Public Cloud Outages: Should You Put All Your Workloads in One Place?

Gary Thome, VP and Chief Engineer at HPE’s Software-Defined & Cloud Group analyses the recent high-profile public cloud outages

A growing number of businesses are becoming dependent on public cloud for their IT systems. Looking back at several high profile public cloud outages this year, a consistent response emerged. Numerous analysts and authors agreed that maybe businesses shouldn’t have all their workloads in one place. Just maybe, a diversified approach that combines both public and private clouds would work better.

A diversified strategy

After the memorable AWS outage in February, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst, Interarbor Solutions, stated, “Cloud sourcing is no different than any product or service sourcing. The old adages still apply: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and keep your options open.  A private to multi-cloud continuum that can react in real time is and will remain the safest route to nonstop business continuity.”

Not surprisingly, after the outage a few articles defended the public cloud monolith. One such article quoted a prominent analyst who covers public cloud referring to the outage as a “hiccup.” Yet according to another article in Business Insider, the disruption hurt 54 of the top 100 internet retailers when their websites either crashed completely or slowed by 20% or more. Cyence, a startup that analyzes the economic impact of internet risk, had reported that financial services companies in the U.S. lost an estimated $150 million.

So how do you decide? It’s all about control.

The advice to diversify doesn’t really guide anyone’s decision on where to host different workloads with different needs. The outage back on February 28 (last day of the month) was the result of AWS doing some routine maintenance — a simple command. Yet due to human error, simple maintenance caused major issues for many businesses. Before this routine procedure, did AWS contact everyone and say, “Hey, we’re planning to do some changes. Does this timing work for you?”

Of course not. Yet, who is in control is an important thing to consider. If my business runs critical end-of-month reports, I probably wouldn’t have scheduled anything to be changed on this last day of the month. (Because, as we all know, things such as routine IT maintenance, software upgrades, etc., don’t always go as planned.)

So perhaps before putting an application in a public cloud, the question to ask is, “Can I accept an unexpected outage at any possible time in this application?” If the answer is no, then maybe you need to run this application on premises where you can control when system upgrades can or cannot occur.

Public clouds can’t be controlled — at least not by any individual business that uses them. Businesses that put their workloads in the cloud give away a fair amount of that control. Knowing this fact, it’s wise to plan accordingly. And more importantly, do an inventory of your cloud workload to assess if they are meeting your current SLA commitments.

A hybrid IT approach gives you more control

Now is the time for every business to take stock of their applications and decide which ones should be in the public cloud and which ones should remain on traditional IT or a private cloud. Thanks to recent innovations in hyperconverged and composable solutions, private cloud options are now better than ever. Speed, agility, and efficiency are standard features in these new offerings, giving businesses all of the benefits of the public cloud without losing any of the control.

With the new innovations around private cloud, why put all your eggs into one basket? Instead, spread out your risk with a strategy that blends the best of public and private cloud.

Many businesses are learning that diversifying risk with a hybrid IT strategy is a smarter approach. It’s time to take back some much needed control.


About Gary Thome

Gary Thome is the Vice President and Chief Technologist for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He is responsible for the technical and architectural directions of converged datacenter products and technologies including HPE Synergy. To learn how composable infrastructure can help you achieve a hybrid IT environment in your data center, download the free HPE Synergy for Dummies eBook.

To read more articles from Gary, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.