AWS Outage Stirs Cloud-Tech Backlash

As "Big Tech" comes under increasing scrutiny by lawmakers, yesterday's AWS outage sparked a backlash about the dangers of cloud computing.

That scrutiny is explained in last summer's article in The New York Times titled "Lawmakers, Taking Aim at Big Tech, Push Sweeping Overhaul of Antitrust." It reports "A bipartisan group of House members introduced five bills targeting Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google."

With yesterday's outage, fuel has been poured on the fire.

As Joey D'Antoni explains in the article "AWS Outage Fallout: What Lessons You Should Learn": "In case you were on the beach yesterday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had a major outage in its U.S.-East-1 region (which cascaded to services hosted in other regions), taking down all manner of Web sites."

Screenshot showing the Downdetector site depticting the AWS outage
[Click on image for larger view.] Downdetector Depicts AWS Outage (source: Downdetector).

With that came pundits' alarm and warnings, many following the don't-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-basket theme.

For example, Vice chimed in with the article "AWS Is the Internet's Biggest Single Point of Failure," stating: "Amazon Web Service's outage this week has shown the world just how much the internet relies on it, and why that's a bad thing."

Following that same theme, Quartz published an article supposedly titled "The AWS outage shows the internet relies too much on Amazon," though that listing in Google News actually brought up an article with a headline of "A total Amazon cloud outage would be the closest thing to the world going offline." It starts out: "Anyone in doubt about the extent to which Amazon rules our lives -- well beyond the things we buy -- only needs to look at the spiraling effects of an Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage on Dec. 7, when everything from banking apps to home deliveries to Christmas lights suddenly blinked out."

Then there's the article on titled "Ross: AWS outage a reminder of how much control we've surrendered to technology." In it, Dave Ross says: "Still, it is another reminder that the more control you surrender to a centralized technology, the more helpless you will be when it fails. Considering all power-hungry tyrants who would really love to see us fail, screwups like this tell me it would be way too easy for them to pull it off."

Even The Christian Science Monitor got on the bandwagon with the article "Amazon outage emphasizes weak links in internet concentration." It says: "To technologist and public data access activist Carl Malamud, the AWS outage highlights how much Big Tech has warped the internet, which was originally designed as a distributed and decentralized network intended to survive mass disasters such as nuclear attack."

There's plenty more, but you get the idea.

As far as practical effects stemming from the outage and its backlash go, it might just give those politicians some more ammunition and impetus to break up AWS and other big cloud and tech companies. So be warned, even though you might now enjoy the "we take care of everything" one-stop-shop approach from your favorite cloud provider or other big tech vendor, you might want to start boning up on how to integrate a larger number of discrete providers into your IT systems to achieve that same level of satisfaction.

Jeff Bezos and other big-tech execs might still be flying around in spaceships, though.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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