“It was the night before Christmas
and all through the town
not a movie was playing
because Netflix was down”
After wrapping presents and placing them under the tree many wanted to relax with a movie and found their favorite movie streaming service down. There are a few angles we want to point out around what happened, what this means to the consumer “perception” of cloud and ultimately how this may affect enterprise decision makers in buying public cloud solutions.
What is really curious is that Amazon’s Prime Video Streaming service (which also runs on AWS) had no such interruptions. So Netflix is relying on their competitor to provide the distribution for their primary product ? This would be as if the offensive line for the Washington Redskins began to moonlight as the offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys during their game on Thanksgiving. I’m sure the Redskin line would do their best, but will the motivation to win truly be there ? Netflix needs to realize by outsourcing their distribution infrastructure they offset the gains they receive from a more manageable cost structure by the loss of revenue from customers migration due to poor quality. To Netflix credit, Amazon has taken some of the blame this time. But why is this happening again and again from Amazon ? That leads us into the next issue.
It is true that Amazon Web Services, AWS, was down, but specifically their East Coast Virgina Data Center (Called US East) was down. The speculation is that this is Amazaon’s oldest and largest Data Center within their AWS Cloud. It has experienced multiple outages this year and it’s a wonder why companies like Netflix, Pintrest, Reddit, and Foursquare keep signing up ? According to several sites it would seem that serveral reasons are at play.
1. The new Oregon Data Center AWS was promoting this time last year is still fairly new so a lot of the newer Enterprise grade (ie Scalable) services are still only available on the US East site
2. It would seem that the real issue here is the Elastic Load Balance Service. This service in theory should allow a large number of customers to reach one particular server (ie a video request) due to the spreading of the request across to multiple proxies. This would make sense if this spike was a lot larger than anyone planned for due the holiday night.
UPDATE: So it now seems that this was a change management issue. A developer accidentally deleted data during routine maintenance.
3. Finally, it’s cheaper to place most of your workloads in UC-East. If you are looking at some of the newer services like high storage instances for large data sets UC-East would make sense. Therefore from a cost perspective it is understandable why customers would choose this incident prone datacenter.
In 2012, internet access is no longer a privilege but a right that is demanded from consumers. As we enter 2013, consumers will demand even greater access to their video data anywhere they are. I know of churches who are now offering their services via video streaming on IOS and Android mobile devices. You can now get the good word even in the bathroom.
In 2013, we predict that consumers will complain more often about not having access to their data in the cloud. Technically there will always be access issues with applications hosted within the cloud, but companies that have excellent customer service to appease and solve complaints will see their customers stay.
How will this affect the Enterprise adoption of Public Cloud ?
There is the old saying in entertainment that bad publicity is better than no publictiy. Unfortunatly, video streaming doesn’t qualify. The tight relationship between Netflix and AWS means that the “Cloud” will be blamed, and this is not a good thing. Enterprise executives who dealt with angry family members over the holiday will now question this “Cloud” with their company’s IT staff. The questions will demand why should the company trust this cloud with their business applications when it can’t even provide movies on demand as promised. It has now gotten to the point that any public outtage by AWS threatens to slow public cloud adoptation. This could see the rise of enterprises using private cloud instead to test their applications in 2013. Would your trust
What sort of questions are your executives asking you after this AWS Christmas outtage ?