It’s been over a week since Amazon Web Services experienced the outage that impacted AWS’ main US-East-1 region. For roughly nine hours on December 7, 2021, things built on the AWS platform, from business websites to educational tools, ceased to operate. Then, on December 15, AWS experienced a second outage that affected Amazon’s US-West-1 and US-West-2 regions for roughly 45 minutes.
The Amazon outages are nothing if not a fitting end to a year punctuated by major cloud service providers facing unexpected downtime. They underscore the difficulty of maintaining our interconnected infrastructure. And for enterprises that rely on cloud services, these outages offer a clear lesson: Creating a diverse and fully redundant infrastructure requires having services built on carrier neutrality.
Why the Amazon Outage Had Such Far-Reaching Effects
At the time of the first event, the Cisco Thousand Eyes team captured and reported on the AWS outage. Beginning at 10:45 am ET on December 7, roughly five minutes after the incident started impacting customers, the Thousand Eyes team chronicled users attempting – and failing – to access certain Amazon services and services relying on the AWS platform. According to their reporting, the outage was finally resolved between 7:40 pm ET and 7:50 pm ET.
While the initial outage originated in Amazon’s US-East-1 region, the effects were felt globally. It’s hardly surprising, given that a recent Synergy Research Report revealed that AWS controlled 33% of global cloud infrastructure in the second quarter.1 Large enterprises, small businesses, local school districts, major research universities – many of these institutions rely on AWS. So, when parts of Amazon went dark, many of these organizations went with it.
For IT and security teams, an infrastructure outage such as the AWS outage would be a significant ordeal. Balancing architecture and IT operations with the business needs is a struggle in the best of times. Ensuring that corporate assets are secured is an arduous task even when a cybersecurity solution is operating flawlessly. There isn’t much extra time (if any) in daily operations, so things can quickly feel overwhelming when there’s a major failure event. Some organizations use multi-region deployments, multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud strategies to limit the blast radius of outages like this one. Still, each of those strategies comes with its challenges.
How Carrier Neutrality Helps Enterprises Prepare for the Next Outage
At Cisco Umbrella, we understand customers’ and IT teams’ pain in these challenging scenarios. And while Umbrella wasn’t immune from either Amazon outage, nearly all customer-facing functionality was unaffected. This was possible because of our carrier-neutral and vendor-neutral architecture, which heavily utilizes colocation facilities.
Choosing a vendor-neutral or carrier-neutral colocation facility allows IT teams to harvest a variety of benefits, including having:
- More alternative paths from more alternative carriers
- A facility with more service providers can offer more data protection options
- Better service performance options
- Reduced costs due to greater competition at the data center level
Flexibility in business is very crucial today. Frequently, selecting a preferred data center provider, carrier, or both may seem attractive and straightforward. However, considering a carrier hotel as it applies to your operation and critical data protection can provide that additional agility your business may benefit from in future outages.
Cisco Umbrella – Built to Weather Carrier Outages
Cisco Umbrella Cloud Security runs on carrier-neutral facilities globally. What’s more, our use of the Cisco Anycast routing protocol ensures continuous cybersecurity services to enterprises and their business operations worldwide. This architecture is designed with our customers in mind and to help organizations improve resiliency, as it can keep companies protected around the clock. And since Cisco Umbrella continues to expand – we recently opened new data centers in Mexico and South Africa – companies can enjoy unparalleled service with minimal latency no matter where they are.
Want to see how Cisco Umbrella can protect your network? Schedule a free demo today!
1 Synergy Research Group, Quarterly Cloud Market Leaps to $42B – Amazon, Microsoft & Google Pocket 63% of Dollars Spent. July 29, 2021.