Yes, even the cloud can go down!
For the many firms, including the SEC and CIA, who run their infrastructure in the AWS cloud, Tuesday’s outage was a pain. The economic impact of the outage will easily be in the many tens of millions.
It is particularly poignant as it comes at a time when so many core processes are moving into the public cloud and more and more capital market participants are building in the cloud, or toward a cloud future, as we discussed in The Cloud Comes of Age in the Capital Markets: All Clear for More Cloud.
This outage is a reminder that not only can all technology fail at some point, but it will. The scale of this week’s outage, along with its rarity makes it newsworthy. However, the scale masks the simple truth that the net downtime of this failure is far less than the aggregate downtime, had all impacted firms been running their own infrastructure.
Furthermore, it is a lesson for firms moving into the cloud to consider how to best manage risk profiles across various clouds and models, or ensuring that they are running across regions (a single AWS region went down).
But the news flow now suggests the most common point of failure: the human. And, of course, the proverbial fat finger. As in many cases, in market technology failures, it is at the human/machine interface that is the weakest link.
This is a time to learn, access the risk and move forward.