"In the thunderstorm on Friday night, several of our data centers had their utility power impacted, but in only
one of them did the redundant power not operate correctly (which ended up impacting a single digit percentage of
our Amazon EC2 instances in the US-East Region). We began restoring service to most of the impacted customers
Friday night, and the remainder were restored on Saturday," the spokesperson wrote in an email response to
A firefighter works a burnout operation on the north flank of the Fontenelle Fire outside Big Piney, Wyoming.
More intensive natural disasters such as wildfires and derechos are requiring companies to pay more attention to
disaster recovery planning. (Photo: Jim Urquhart / Reuters)
Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest websites were also affected by Amazon's recent outage.
"Netflix could have had Amazon duplicate its instance in every data center, but that would be prohibitively expensive,"
said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. "But, expect to pay more for that kind of resiliency.
There's a price to be paid for that kind of availability and there's no free lunch in the cloud."
While cloud data services are still in their infancy, eventually they will become so common that they'll be
considered a utility, just as electricity and telephony is today, said Parveen Jain, CEO of RedSeal Networks, which
sells software for monitoring the health of companies' IT infrastructure.
"I think the service providers have to make sure systems work uninterrupted as much as possible. They have to
implement redundancy," Jain said. "As the government is transitioning to the cloud, and some of the largest
enterprises are moving there as well, redundancy is a necessity."
Power outages like the one Amazon's AWS experienced are expected to become more frequent as global warming
causes storms of all types to become more severe and heat waves to be more frequent and intense.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, administered by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the vast majority of the U.S. is experiencing drought
So far this year, more than 23,000 high temperature records have been set, compared with 2,500 cold temperature
records, according to NOAA. In past years, records for
high and low temperatures were typically equal, said Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at the National Severe
Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., which is also part of NOAA.