What happens when there is a cloud service outage?

Whether some might people like it or not, we live in the cloud era and there the key role is played by services. But what happens when there's an outage? Yesterday I tried to log into Flipboard, but unlike what would usually happen, the message "service is currently down" greeted me.

It wasn't a scheduled maintenance. Flipboard announced via Google+ that the service was down and it "only" took roughly five hours to get it back up. So what happened? According to Data Center Knowledge and Wired, when Amazon Cloud went down so did Heroku, Flipboard, Foursquare, Reddit "and others", with problems reported to its North Virginia-based servers. But the cloud is supposed to be the future, and it doesn't include pulling the plug and sending people off: "Go to sleep, I'm incapable of anything now!"

Coincidentally (or not) while Amazon Cloud was down yesterday so was our group chat, and replacing its essential functionality with an alternative can be cumbersome like going from instant messages to writing emails; it's just not doable and time-consuming at the same time. Even so, Google+ worked so I did manage to briefly discuss some topics but the cloud lost a bit of its appeal from my perspective.

I'm a Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive user, and mostly because I don't trust any entirely to use just a single one for storing documents, pictures or videos. There is that constant feeling that at one point or another somewhere between me and the server something bad will happen that will prevent me from accessing my files. That I can't shake, especially knowing that luck isn't always on my side.

I use cloud services on a daily basis, starting with group chat, storage, email, etc. When one fails I can't properly carry over my daily activities. Flipboard is something that I can honestly live without for a few hours, but because of events like these I find it problematic to rely solely on the cloud for my daily endeavors.

Is the cloud reliable enough? With a backup or an alternative way of using a certain service, I'd venture to say that it can be although it is far from perfect. The problem comes when there is no fail-safe implemented and all hope rests on doing things a certain way expecting nothing bad to happen.

Photo Credit: Ovchynnikov Oleksii/Shutterstock

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