March 2, 2017

Amazon Web Services Outage: How Preparation Prevented a Problem

By | Category Company News |


On February 28, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-computing platform experienced a service interruption for four hours — an event that disrupted the performance of some well known businesses such as Buzzfeed, Netflix, Pinterest, Quora, Slack, and Spotify. AWS over the past 10 years has become a vital part of the Web. More than 148,000 websites as well as thousands of apps and devices rely on AWS to help them manage their infrastructure by storing critical assets on the AWS cloud. When AWS went down, its clients experienced problems ranging from slow processing time to outages. Because AWS’s clients include so many high-profile brands with substantial web traffic, a bad day for AWS meant it was lights-out time for everyone Slacking, taking Buzzfeed quizzes, listening to music on Spotify, and binge watching on Netflix.  

Businesses scrambled to notify their users about what had happened and to keep them up to date as best they could. In reality, AWS clients — including Amazon itself — were powerless to do anything until AWS recovered.

SIM Partners also relies on AWS to support our client service through our Velocity and Velocity Health platforms. Like many businesses, we find it more cost-effective and practical to rely on the cloud to store the myriad assets that Velocity and Velocity Health use in order to manage the complexities of location marketing for businesses that operate hundreds and thousands of brick-and-mortar locations. But when AWS went down, fortunately we were not one of the AWS clients that experienced a service lapse. In fact, for SIM Partners, February 28 was a routine day free of interruptions.

But why? Because we planned for the unexpected. We’ve built security safeguards into Velocity and Velocity Health and have developed a level of service redundancy to ensure that the needs of our clients are not compromised. And we have to. For our healthcare clients, patient access to healthcare systems is at stake. And our clients in other industries count on us to support countless dollars in revenue generation by managing their digital brands across multiple platforms and channels. So we have to plan for the worst. Consequently, we experienced zero interruptions on the day of the great outage.

If you work with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, now is a good time to check their protocols and approach for protecting the integrity of their service. If you are considering a partnership with a SaaS vendor, make sure they walk you through their process for anticipating and managing disruptive events.

Your brand depends on how well we manage the unexpected.

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