Amazon’s Outage Could Lead to Problems for the Cloud Computing Industry

As the most visible and arguably the most successful cloud computing provider, Amazon has the unfortunate job of dealing with negative news coverage any time their service fails the companies that pay for it.

That became painfully apparent yesterday, as an outage caused problems for several major clients of Amazon’s cloud computing service, including the social news website Reddit and the social networking application FourSquare. Problems have persisted this morning, and the outage could have lasting consequences for both Amazon and the cloud computing industry as a whole-depending on how the issue is ultimately resolved.

For those who aren’t in the know, cloud computing provides companies with the computing power that they need on a per-case basis. If you’ve got a company that receives a ton of business in March and much less business during the rest of the year, Amazon’s cloud service will allow you to pay more in March and less for the lower bandwidth that you’ll be using from April on. It’s a smart way to handle server needs, which is why many businesses have turned to cloud computing technology in recent months.

The outage is going to have two major consequences. It’s going to weaken cloud computing as a whole, because companies look to the market leaders for indications of reliability. Any amount of downtime-even two days’ worth-will have massive consequences for the market, as Amazon has a big piece of the cloud pie, if you’ll pardon the expression.

The second consequence is that Amazon’s chief competitors, among them Microsoft’s Windows Azure and RackSpace, will receive more of the business from new companies looking at the technology for the first time.

Of course, all of that depends on how well Amazon rebounds from the downtime. The company can minimize its losses by being transparent about the cause of the outage and outlining steps it’s taking to avoid similar outages in the future. They could also begin a campaign to highlight their cloud services’ advantages over their main competitors.

It’s also very likely that Amazon will point out that no cloud computing service can offer 0% downtime, but it’s probably best for Amazon and the entire cloud computing industry if they don’t focus too heavily on this point. Companies considering the switch to the cloud need to hear something positive. Let’s hope that Amazon ends the downtime and comes out of cloud computing’s first real test with flying colors.

Sources:

” Amazon’s cloud troubles leave Reddit, other sites down for a second day,” LATimes Blog.