Protecting Yourself from Downtime in the Cloud

This past March, Apple’s cloud services were knocked off the cloud for some serious cloud downtime amounting to nearly 12 hours. The downtime left millions of users around the globe unable to update apps, make purchases, and install software from the iOS and iTunes Store. Apple’s iCloud services, which include email, were also affected at this time (albeit for a shorter period of time). The brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, which are heavily reliant upon the cloud and the Internet, were left processing old-school credit card impressions instead of utilizing Apple Pay. What did this 12-hour cloud downtime show us? That we need to take measures to ensure we can function, even when the almighty cloud goes down.

What Brought Down Apple’s Cloud?

Was it hackers? Malicious code? What exactly brought down the almighty Apple cloud earlier this year? It was actually something as simple as an internal DNS error that brought the Apple Cloud down and operations to a halt. According to Apple reps, the domain name system, which is used to direct Internet traffic to proper destinations, was not working correctly. A domino effect occurred, bringing down Cupertino’s e-commerce services for hours and cost the company a reported $25 million in lost revenue.

All That Glitters…

This incident is just one example of the cloud’s inherent risks. Online services do indeed bring an array of benefits to the table, such as being able to log into your content from any mobile device. However, there are some significant downsides as well. For example, if you store all of your content on the cloud and the cloud goes down, that access (along with your content) is gone.

The Bottom Line

While the cloud is improving and cloud hosting is something a number of website owners are considering, until it becomes more stable, good old traditional server hosting that is easily monitored for downtime with comprehensive downtime reports may be the way to go for the time being. There is a time and a place for everything, and for now, the cloud may not be the perfect place to host your site.