Insights and Opinions

AWS: Time for a Multi-Vendor Cloud Strategy

It was a rough weekend for the cloud, with an outage over at Amazon Web Services, plus a leap second bug. Steve Zivanic, at San Diego's Nirvanix, makes the case for avoiding those issues.

At a time when Amazon Web Services continues to experience multiple outages, it's becoming rather clear that the answer for its customers is not to try and "master” the AWS cloud and learn how to leverage multiple "availability zones” in an attempt to avoid the next outage, but rather to look into a multi-vendor cloud strategy to ensure continuous business operations. You can spend days, months and years trying to "master" AWS or you could simply do what large-scale IT organizations have been doing for decades--rely on more than one vendor.

It's not about keeping two copies in more than one location in a single cloud, it's about multiple copies across multiple geo locations across multiple clouds.

At Nirvanix, we have many customers who store petabytes of data in our cloud and maintain a copy in another vendor's cloud. This is no different than a large bank running servers from one manufacturer for a specific application, with a set of servers from a completely separate manufacturer ready to take over should the need arise.

Companies that are spending inordinate amounts of time to diagnose the intricacies of AWS's infrastructure and develop "workarounds" in the hope that they can survive the next outage are doing their customers a disservice. Instead of spending time telling clients they are busy managing an AWS outage and posting hourly status updates on when their service may or may not be available, they could simply shift over to a secondary cloud and keep the business running with no customer interruptions.

Clearly, continuous data accessibility at times like these is more critical than anything else.

Companies who continue to grapple with the technical issues of Amazon can maintain live replicas of their data in IBM's SmartCloud Enterprise offering, for example, which offers cloud compute and cloud storage services with the added benefit of enterprise-level support, something Amazon is lacking, particularly during outages.

Steve Zivanic is VP of Marketing at San Diego-based Nirvanix. Prior to Nirvanix, Zivanic held senior marketing and communications positions at QLogic, DataDirect Networks and Hitachi, Ltd.'s Data Systems unit.