A lot of people have moved their web content to the cloud. And it's not likely to decline over time, as a solid technology service for providing easy access and reliable data backup.
But there are downsides, as seen in this past weekend's serious weather disruptions along the East Coast.
A New York Times story today lays out how the storm created a large disruption in web services, including such key providers as Instagram and Amazon.
We'll provide a short segment from the Times story:
On Friday night, lightning in Virginia took out part of Amazon’s cloud computing service, called Amazon Web Services, which hundreds of companies use for data storage and computation. Well-known sites like Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram were not accessible for hours. There was little information for customers about what had happened, or even whether user data was safe.
The interruption underlined how businesses and consumers are increasingly exposed to unforeseen risks and wrenching disruptions as they increasingly embrace life in the cloud. It was also a big blow to what is probably the fastest-growing part of the media business, start-ups on the social Web that attract millions of users seemingly overnight.
They will also have another option. On Thursday, Google said it would offer computing over the Internet at half the price of Amazon.
The weekend’s disruption happened after a lightning storm caused the power to fail at the Amazon Web Services center in Northern Virginia containing thousands of computer servers. For reasons Amazon was still unsure of on Sunday, the data center’s backup generator also failed.
By midday Saturday, Amazon said in a statement that it had restored service “to most of our impacted customers, and continue to work to restore service to our remaining impacted customers,” adding, “we will share more details on this event in the coming days.” The company had no further comment.
It was at least the second major failure for Amazon in that area. In April 2011, a problem in Amazon’s networking at a nearby data center took down a number of applications and popular Web sites, including Reddit and Quora, for more than a day.