Late last month, a simple mistake caused massive problems and caused hundreds of thousands of businesses to grind to a halt.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides website hosting, cloud-based storage, and other web services for companies that don’t want to build and maintain their own hosting platforms. AWS’s cloud computing division was taken down for around four hours on February 28 after a programmer made an error trying to debug AWS’s billing system. This, in turn, made popular services and sites like Netflix, Buzzfeed, and Spotify, as well as hundreds of thousands of other websites, to go down for hours. In addition to ecommerce sites being rendered closed for business, it took down cloud-based systems that businesses increasingly rely on to run their businesses, including Teamwork and Proposify, our own project management and proposal writing systems. This outage cost countless dollars in lost productivity.
We get asked all the time if we can guarantee 100% uptime, and the truth of the matter is every website will go down at some point because systems fail and people make mistakes. This outage teaches us that even the biggest providers fail to deliver from time to time. Perhaps a better question to ask when evaluating service providers is how will they react when they do?