Michael Hussey

Amazon's cloud nightmare

April 22, 2011: 10:24 AM ET

The exact feature that was supposed to be Amazon EC2's strength -- reliability -- is what failed and brought the cloud low yesterday. Still, cloud computing isn't going anywhere.

By Dan Mitchell, contributor

FORTUNE -- The snafu at Amazon's EC2 hosting service on Thursday, which knocked several big web sites out of service, is being called a "black eye"  for the cloud-computing business -- a "we told you so" moment, according to cloud critics. But it could simply be a black eye for EC2.

It seems unlikely that this incident will cause startups to turn away from cloud computing, which for smaller companies is much cheaper than self-hosting. More likely, some of them will think twice about hosting with EC2, one of the industry leaders. That's because this was a particularly nasty, widespread, and long-lasting outage. A whole bunch of sites were thrown totally or partially out of commission for most of the day Thursday, including Quora, Foursquare, Reddit, and HootSuite. (Update: some sites are still down as of midday Friday.)


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