What We Can Learn From Amazon’s Cloud Crash

By now I am sure you heard of Amazon’s EC2 cloud server crash that shut down operations for several major websites including Reddit, Hootsuite, Quora, Foursquare, and many more over the past couple days. Since then, several articles have surfaced speaking on what we can take away from this crash. Most of these posts I have read focus on what we can learn about cloud computing in general. I wanted to take a somewhat different spin and write about what I learned personally and what others working in social media should take out of it.

1. I need to get out more. I was upset over not being able to use HootSuite for one day. I don’t know how I would respond if something actually catastrophic happened.

Takeaway: Take deep breaths. As much as we utilize social media in our daily lives, it is not the end of the world.

2. When using third party services, always prepare for change. This remains true for any social media site you use. If it is not your site, always be prepared for changes to occur. Social media campaigns have proven an excellent way to reach customers, engage fans, and provide added values to companies. Social media is also very volatile. Not that this would ever happen (maybe?), but Facebook could just shut down operations today. If you have a major advertising campaign around Facebook, this could create some extensive complications. Be willing to respond and adapt. Facebook completely shutting down isn’t very likely, but there is a great possibility that their features will change in some way over the next year. Tell yourself ahead of time that this is ok, and if in fact new features cause your campaign to shift, such is life. Learn about the new offerings and find ways to make it work for you.

Takeaway: Adaptation for the social media manager is key.

3. Have a backup plan. HootSuite going down caused a few hiccups for me yesterday, but I was still able to use Twitter to get the things done that I needed to. You are probably not going to play through every scenario of possible social media interruptions, but it is good to have vague idea of what you would do if something were to occur.

Takeaway: If you put all your eggs in one basket, know where to find more eggs if the basket breaks.

4. If it is not in two places, it is no where. I didn’t learn this so much from Amazon’s scare, but more from personal hard drive crash issues. Make sure all your data exists in two places. Netflix is hosted on Amazon’s cloud, but didn’t experience problems since they had the infrastructure in place to withstand an entire server crash. Obviously, most startup companies don’t have the financials to do this, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at home. Right now, I have my computer backed up on both an external hard drive and on a cloud server through CrashPlan. Almost losing my entire life’s worth of pictures has made me prepare for computer crash Armageddon.

Takeaway: Back that ‘thang up.

As long as we use services that are not in our control, we must be prepared for alternative scenarios. Stay safe out there kids.

27. April 2011 by Alex Trevisan
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Social Media, Technology, Web | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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