It was a usual monsoon afternoon yesterday, and i was trying to link up my Instagram account with Klout. After a blank screen lasting a while, i encountered a server time out error screen. I dismissed the experience for some vague connectivity issues which sometimes do happen.
Much later on seeing tweets and news feeds i realized, Instagram, Pinterest and a host of other websites using the Amazon S3 cloud hosting services were down for hours together. The reason – a storm that swept Northern Virginia causing a power outage that brought down the data centers of Amazon. And down came with it, the increasingly popular Instagram and Pinterest services.
Ironically, as per an article on Forbes.com, Pinterest served a misleading notice on their page stating that it was upgrading servers while the real reason was the Amazon data center downtime.
The incident brings us to two stark questions – the short and the long of it:
1. Is cloud computing, which has been touted to be the elixir for scalable future technologies, so very vulnerable to external factors of which it claimed immunity? If the servers at Northern Virginia went down, why were there no backup services located elsewhere in the world? And in the scheme of all these things, what advantage is Amazon Cloud Hosting giving to its client over any run of the mill data center hosting solution?
2. We are banking a lot on the Internet and connectivity as the backbone of our future. Can changing climate patterns like these prove a grave threat to our future?
It was just a night of cold servers at Amazon, but the embers of these questions are still stoking warm!