If you like browsing Reddit (guilty), managing social media accounts on Hootsuite (yep) or checking in on Foursquare (hmm… nope to this), you likely encountered an outage yesterday when Amazon Web Services' US-EAST data center began experiencing errors.
Today, Reddit remains in read-only mode, but I've got my Hootsuite page back up (Thank goodness for that, because I forgot how much I disliked other Twitter clients until yesterday). However, CIOs are surely noting the continuing partial outage.
Cloud's a popular buzzword in insurance as we move into the second decade of the 2000s. But, the flip side of outsourcing data center maintenance by hosting applications off-site is the feeling of helplessness when something goes wrong at those sites. At Reddit, a moderator noted in comments that the company is trying to fix the issue by "[moving] to new EBS disks that aren't in an affected zone. It just takes a long time to move all that data.
Moving data around in the cloud is a struggle that even proponents recognize. Not long ago, Alfred Goxhaj, CIO of Philadelphia Insurance Companies wrote in I&T about the benefits of the private cloud. The company plans to set things up so that:
Instead of manual redirection of all traffic to a specific data center in the event of a disaster, the goal is to intelligently and automatically distribute inbound customer traffic requests to the data centers based on application performance, data center capacity and availability, or business policies.
Several companies have joined for a cloud standardization organization with the goal of meeting a need for "intelligent control systems to orchestrate the behavior of thousands of routing machines."
Outages are going to happen in the cloud — it's simply a matter of being prepared for them. I'm sure this high-profile event will spur investment to that end.
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio