Is Cloud Hosting a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Recent outages for Amazon Web Services have once again raised concerns about the safety and security of cloud hosting. Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest all experienced downtime when a storm in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. knocked out the power to AWS data centers. It is not the first major disruption in service by AWS, and it has some asking: Is cloud hosting a disaster waiting to happen?

First, it is important to understand why companies choose colocation or cloud computing. For many the primary benefit of using cloud computing is not having to manage servers, supply power to a data center, or have sophisticated network infrastructure. The cloud service provider handles all of that. Moreover, when it comes to general maintenance of hardware, the cloud provider handles that as well.

Those who argue that Cloud Hosting is unreliable seem to be forgetting that forces of nature, such as thunderstorms, can hit a local data center just as easily as they can hit a cloud one. In many cases, the cloud provider may even have some redundancy in place that makes it more likely to survive minor interference or network problems. It can be enormously expensive for a company to do this itself.

There are certainly practical advantages of on-premise hosting over cloud hosting, but safety should not be one of them. If you trust your cloud provider, and they have a record of delivering reasonably good service, you should have very few problems.