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Is the public cloud out for disaster recovery?

Dateline: 3 Jul 2017

ComputerWeekly’s Cliff Saran wrote that “AWS Outage Shows Vulnerability of Cloud Disaster Recovery” in his article of March 6, 2017. He cites the S3 outage suffered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) on February 28, 2017, as an example of the risks you face by running critical systems in the public cloud. “The consensus is that the public cloud is superior to on-premise datacentres, but AWS’s outage, caused by human error, shows that even the most sophisticated cloud IT infrastructure is not infallible,” he said.


Given that the AWS outage was caused by human error, the first question is whether blaming the public cloud for the outage is fair. The second question is, could this incident have been prevented by using data acceleration to deploy machine intelligence and thus reduce the potential calamities that can result from human error? In the case of the AWS S3 outage, a simple typographical error wreaked havoc to the extent that the company couldn’t, according to the Register—“get into its own dashboard to warn the world.”


With human error being at fault, it doesn’t seem fair to blame the public cloud. What organizations need, whether they’re AWS customers or not—is several business-continuity, service-continuity and disaster-recovery options in place. They must be supported by an ability to back up and restore data to any cloud in real time. Your data and your resources should therefore neither be concentrated in just one data center nor be focused on one means of cloud storage. So when disaster strikes, your data is ready and your operations can switch to another data center or to another disaster-recovery site without damaging the ability of your business to operate.


Some experts believe British Airways (BA) could have avoided its recent computer failure, which is expected to have cost nearly $200 million, had it put the right disaster-recovery strategies in place. The worldwide outage on May 27, 2017, left its passengers stranded at airports, and it has no doubt damaged the airline’s brand, with newspaper reports predicting the demise of the company.


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