When Amazon’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), suffered an outage this past Tuesday (December 7, 2021), the magnitude of the event was felt globally. What happened, and how can your business learn from this significant outage?

Why was there an AWS outage?

Reported issues within the AWS infrastructure began around 12:00 ET/17:00 GMT on Dec. 7, according to data from real-time outage monitoring service DownDetector.

Amazon reported that the “US-East-1” region went down in North Virginia on Tuesday, which disrupted Amazon’s own applications and multiple third-party services that also rely on AWS. The issue was an “impairment of several network devices” that resulted in several API errors and ultimately, impacted many critical AWS services.

AWS outage

What were the effects of the AWS outage?

The effects of the AWS outage were massive because any problem affecting Amazon impacts hundreds of millions of end-users. AWS constitutes 41% of the global cloud-computing business, and many of the largest companies in the world are dependent on AWS’s cloud computing services. These businesses rent computing, storage, and network capabilities from AWS, which means the outage prevented end-users ‘ access to a variety of sites and apps across the Internet.

The major websites and apps that suffered from the outage are ones we turn to on a daily basis: Xfinity, Venmo, Google, and Disney+, just to name a few.

On Tuesday morning, users were reporting that they couldn’t log on to a variety of vital accounts. Most of us were going through our normal daily routine of checking the news, our financial accounts, or our Amazon orders, only to frustratingly realize that we couldn’t do so. 

With so many large organizations relying on AWS, when the outage occurred, it felt like the entire Internet went down. 

Benefits of a High Availability Multi-Region Cloud Application Architecture

Even though the outage was a major headache, it serves as an important lesson for those who are relying on a cloud-based infrastructure. As they say, you should learn from mistakes.

Amazon AWS OutageSo how can your business mitigate, or even avoid, the effects of a major failure within your cloud provider?

At 2nd Watch, we are in favor of a high availability multi-region cloud approach. We advise our clients to build out multi-region application architecture not only because it will support your mission-critical services during an outage, but also because it will make your applications more resilient and improve your end-user experiences by keeping latencies low for a distributed

user base. Below is how we think about a multi-region cloud approach and why we believe it is a strong strategy

1. Increase your Fault Tolerance

Fault tolerance is the ability of a system to endure some kind of failure and continue to operate properly. 

Unfortunately, things happen that are beyond our control (i.e. natural disasters) or things slip through the cracks (i.e. human error), which can impact a data center, an availability zone, or an entire region. However, just because a failure happens doesn’t mean an outage has to happen.

By architecting a multi-region application structure, if there is a regional failure similar to AWS’s east region failure, your company can avoid a complete outage. Having a multi-region architecture grants your business the redundancy required to increase availability and resiliency, ensure business continuity and support disaster recovery plans.

2. Lower latency requirements for your worldwide customer base

The benefits of a multi-region approach goes beyond disaster recovery and business continuity. By adopting a multi-region application architecture, your company can deliver low latency by keeping data closer to all of your users, even those who are across the globe.

In an increasingly impatient world, keeping latency low is vital for a good user experience, and the only way to maintain low latency is keeping your users close to the data.

3. Comply with Data Privacy Laws & Regulations

“Are you GDPR compliant?” is a question you probably hear frequently. Hopefully your business is, and you want to remain that way. With a multi-region architecture, you can ensure that you are storing data within the legal boundaries. Also, with signs that there will be more regulations each year, you will stay a step ahead with data compliance if you utilize a multi-region approach.

How Can I Implement a Multi-Region Infrastructure Deployment Solution?

A multi-region cloud approach is a proactive way to alleviate potential headaches and grow your business, but without guidance, it can seem daunting in terms of adoption strategy, platform selection, and cost modeling. 

2nd Watch helps you mitigate the risks of potential public cloud outages and deploy a multi-region cloud infrastructure. Through our Cloud Advisory Services, we serve as your trusted advisor for answering key questions, defining strategy, managing change, and providing impartial advice for a wide range of organizational, process, and technical issues critical to successful cloud modernization.

Contact us today to discuss a multi-region application architecture for your business needs!

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