Worldwide cloud outages have users worried

Microsoft and Google took a little break from fighting over patches to have a shared moment of humility. Within the span of a few months, the two mega companies experienced prolonged worldwide cloud outages. 

These outages can be devastating for companies and individual users who have increasingly come to rely on cloud services. While an outage in one region or area can usually be compensated for by shifting the load to another region, when every region goes down worldwide, it’s a major issue.

Google, which experienced a two hour outage on the evening of Thursday, February 19, acknowledged this is a major inconvenience the day after in a lengthy post mortem:

“We consider GCE’s availability over the last 24 hours to be unacceptable, and we apologise if your service was affected by this outage. Today we are completely focused on addressing the incident and its root causes, so that this problem or other hypothetical similar problems cannot recur in the future.”

Following its Azure outage, Microsoft was similarly contrite and outlined steps it would take to prevent similar problems such as enforcing its existing policies and creating new social media and communications steps to alert users to outages and system statuses.

Prolonged outages can be deadly

A cloud outage of a few hours is bad enough. But there’s no telling the effects a longer-term outage could have on users and businesses.

While mega companies such as Microsoft and Google are generally able to quickly detect and fix problems, smaller providers may not have the resources or expertise to act so quickly.

Companies would be wise to have at least one alternative in place. Using multiple cloud providers as failovers is one option. Another is to have non-cloud backup options for your most crucial services (or even to make them your primary set-up).

In short, it boils down to not putting all your eggs in one basket. If you live by one provider, your productivity can die by one provider, too.

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