Hindsight: The Business Opportunity Presented by AWS Challenges

Hindisght with Mike Davis
Hindsight with Mike Davis

By Mike Davis, National Cloud & Data Center Specialist

The December AWS Outage Affected Users Globally

On Dec. 7, the AWS US-East-1 Cloud Compute Region went off-line causing wide-spread internet application outages. Customers were impacted globally including high-profile sites such as Netflix, Disney+, Ring, Ticketmaster, Venmo, Roku, Fidelity Investments, Hootsuite and many others using the AWS Cloud Compute platform to deliver commercial and residential applications and services.

Amazon warehouses also ground to a halt when the AWS outage caused drivers and warehouse workers lost connectivity to the Warehouse Management and Delivery applications through their handheld compute devices.

On Dec. 15, another AWS outage affected multiple high-profile customer sites as well as users across the globe, lasting for an hour and a half.

In this post, we’ll explain what happened, how the AWS outage may have affected your customers and provide you with insights that you can use to advocate for business continuance and disaster recovery solutions with your customers.

What Happened

The AWS outage started on Dec. 7 at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET and was focused on the AWS US-East-1 Region in Northern Virginia, their largest compute region. At 5:47 p.m. ET, AWS reported that it had “mitigated the underlying issue” and companies were able to start the restore process.

“The root cause of this issue is an impairment of several network devices in the US-EAST-1 Region,” according to the AWS Service Health Dashboard. As of 7:30 p.m. ET, AWS reported that the network devices issue had been resolved and it was “now working towards recovery of any impaired services.”

This five hour and 17-minute AWS outage resulted in millions to tens of millions in lost revenue and productivity.

What’s Happening Now

On Dec. 15, another AWS outage affected internet connectivity in two regions of the U.S. West Coast, including Oregon and northern California. Services for high-profile customer sites including Netflix, Slack, Amazon’s Ring and DoorDash were impacted.

The second outage lasted an hour and a half and according to the dashboard, the issue “has been resolved and the service is operating normally.”

What This Means For You

For some companies, the AWS outage has been a very expensive lesson in business continuity and disaster recovery.

What are business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR)?

  • Business continuity is the strategy an organization puts into place allowing it to respond with minimal disruption to business operations when a disaster or disruption occurs.
  • Disaster recovery is the restoration of systems to a given point in time when the systems were functioning. Disaster recovery includes both business processes and technology.

Every application is subject to outages caused by internal network issues, internet issues, human error/negligence, or natural disasters.

Natural disasters are a common occurrence, affecting numerous states and regions over the year. FEMA has issued 17 Disaster Declarations (to date) in 2021, many of which are caused by severe weather and fires. 

For example, the Arctic Blast through the Central US impacted data center service providers as well. Rich Miller outlines the impact on the data center service providers community in his article, Texas Data Centers Rely on Generators Amid Power Emergency

Whatever the causes, companies must be ready to work through outages and natural disasters. Business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) planning can help customers minimize the effects of significant service-impacting events. 

What You Can Do Now

The time to have a discussion with your customers about business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) is now. Rest assured, someone will sell them on these solutions. We want it to be you. Here’s how you can approach the conversion. 

A large percentage of businesses do not have functional and tested business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans. Set up a quarterly meeting with your customers to discuss their BC/DR plans and determine if they’re ready for a short-term or a sustained outage.

A best practice in the public cloud space (AWS, Azure, GCP) is to have an annual Well-Architected Review. Our AWS Expert MSP Suppliers will identify the risk of an AWS regional outage or natural disaster and make a recommendation for a mediation plan. 

Help Your Customers Prepare for Future Disruptions

The AWS outage highlights that in this digital age, all businesses are vulnerable to outages or natural disasters.

It’s not a matter of if an outage will occur, but when. An estimated 96 percent of businesses have experienced an outage in the past three years. The average hourly downtime cost is between $30,000 and $400,000; but depending on size, the cost can range from $10,000 to over $5 million per hour of downtime. These are significant numbers.

Help your customers create a business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan and review them frequently. If you have ​​AWS customers, now is absolutely the time to talk with them about an annual Well-Architected Review.

Get Started with BC/DR

Our people and platform are here to support you through each phase of the sales cycle.

Learn more about business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans by logging into Intelisys University (iU) and watching the on-demand replay of our SE Webinar: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, Not Just an Insurance Policy with John Themmes, Mike Ratta and Nick Tempesta.

Be sure to check out our additional business continuity and disaster recovery resources that are available to you in iU.

Empower your customers with information on the right technology solutions for their business with the Technology Guide in MyIntelisys. Access disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) for high-level overviews, supplier selections, ideal customer profiles and more.

Our Virtual Sales Engineer tool makes it easy to ask qualification questions about specific cloud technologies, including DRaaS, and collaborate with our Solutions Engineering team to create optimal solutions. Access SupplierScope in MyIntelisys to quickly identify the right Supplier for your customer’s needs.

Need an answer to your BC/DR questions in real-time? Contact the SE team via live chat in MyIntelisys

Our team is here to act as an extension of your business. Reach out to your regional SE and BDM team and let us know how we can support your growth.