AWS Outage: Plan Ahead to Avoid Future Catastrophe

AWS experienced a significant outage on November 21st, 2020 that impacted customers located in one (US-East-1) of AWS’ 23 geographic regions. The region was significant however, given the number of companies that publicly stated their issues via social media channels:

  • Coinbase
  • Glassdoor
  • iRobot – impacted home app which, according to LinkedIn security employee, effected his ability to vacuum home
  • Roku
  • Vonage
  • The Washington Post
  • Ring doorbells started not working
  • And more…

According to a report by ZDnet, AWS attributed the outage “to errors with its Kinesis data-streaming service. While many of the impacted services don't use AWS Kinesis, Amazon said the Kinesis issue caused problems internally at the company, with errors and second-hand disruption also appearing at 27 other AWS products.”

As AWS reported their Q3 revenue of $11.6B, it’s a good time for customers to assess how they should be planning ahead of future outages to avoid catastrophe.

Single vs. Multi-vendor Approach

The recent AWS outage is further illustration that a thorough analysis of workload, weighting not only economic benefits but critical business risk is required before embarking or further expanding your workload consumption in the public cloud.

While AWS has experienced very few outages over the years, it is imperative that you have a defined cloud strategy and options to deal with a failure.

Single Cloud Approach and Multi-Region Architecture

Relying and committing to a single vendor’s cloud allows you to take full advantage of long-term enterprise agreements and get additional price value for an array of specific services that may be beneficial to your workload profiles.

However, there is a cost: your freedom. If there is a service or feature that is absolutely required for your next release, then being on your cloud vendor’s schedule may put you behind the curve.   Only the top client accounts or the largest consumers of specific services may influence a provider roadmap.

When consuming cloud vendor services, it is important that you are aware of these risks and you have a plan for a failure scenario given the potential for disastrous business impacts. In order to mitigate that risk in a single cloud environment, you would have to build a multi-region, active-active architecture with all key services be deployed across multiple regions. This complex design handles failure of all or part of a region as you can rapidly shift to another region. Netflix runs everything on AWS, and was able to avoid any serious disruptions due to their planning ahead, running multi-region, active-active architecture.

But implementing such resilient architecture comes at a cost premium that you could consider as ‘business insurance’.

Multi-Cloud Approach

A well-designed multi-cloud approach enables you to leverage best services within each cloud platform. It also inherently gives you more freedom, security and reduced failure risk than using a single provider.

Multi-cloud option does come at increased operating costs as it requires open standards, Kubernetes and complex architecture design toward platform interdependence. It also demands a strong governance and a broad cloud expertise to manage multiple platforms and defined interfaces between applications. In short, you better have the scale and enough spend across cloud vendors to make it beneficial.

Additionally, with a multi-cloud strategy, you avoid a lock in with a single vendor. When one proves to be an unreliable partner, or another offer a better service, platform independence frees your reliance on one provider and allows you to rebalance workloads across platforms.


By now, the benefits of cloud computing are well known in terms of scalability and flexibility. However, your ability to save costs is a function of your cloud strategy and the workloads being considered. The question is not whether to move to the cloud, but how to determine which cloud provider(s) and workloads are the best fit, while identifying the right path to the cloud for your business.

To help you to make the right choice, NET (net) stands ready to assist with our Cloud Cost Optimization program. Our methodology offers four distinct points of differentiation that ensure usage is optimized:

  • A proprietary technology enabled process to not only analyze, but optimize and predict cloud costs with high level of granularity and confidence
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About NET(net)

Founded in 2002, NET(net) is the world’s leading IT Investment Optimization firm, helping clients find, get and keep more economic and strategic value. With over 2,500 clients around the world in nearly all industries and geographies, and with the experience of over 25,000 field engagements with over 250 technology suppliers in XaaS, Cloud, Hardware, Software, Services, Healthcare, Outsourcing, Infrastructure, Telecommunications, and other areas of IT spend, resulting in incremental client captured value in excess of $250 billion since 2002. NET(net) has the expertise you need, the experience you want, and the performance you demand. Contact us today at, visit us online at, or call us at +1-866-2-NET-net to see if we can help you capture more value in your IT investments, agreements, and relationships.

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