Yesterday the public cloud hosting company GoDaddy experienced a major outage. A large percentage of its 50 million registered domains, five million hosted websites, and an unknown number of its other cloud-based solutions were affected. Some websites were unavailable for as long as six hours. For many businesses, the outage occurred during the most critical hours of the workday: from 1 PM to 7 PM on the East Coast and—more devastatingly—10 AM to 4 PM on the West Coast. One e-commerce business claimed that it had lost $50,000 due to the temporary inaccessibility of its websites. The business’s owner told United Press International, “It feels to me that a company of that size, they’d have contingency plans, better security. We’re just really disappointed with what we thought was a major, able, safe Internet services provider.” Though a hacker claimed responsibility for the attack, GoDaddy said that the outage was a result of technical problems with its DNS servers (hardware that converts URLs into functional IP addresses and allows users to establish a connection with a website).
GoDaddy’s outage demonstrates several of the problems with the public cloud:
-First, many GoDaddy customers were reportedly frustrated by the lack of technical support during the incident. The wait list for the customer service line of the company reached 750 people on Monday. Public clouds often have millions of users but a much smaller number (hundreds or dozens) of support staff. When things are going well, this lopsided ratio lowers customers’ costs and raises the public cloud hosting company’s profits. When the cloud’s infrastructure fails, however, customers can expect little information and long waits for individual technical support.
-Second, the public cloud is both extremely interconnected and complex. Most of the hardware resources in a public cloud data center are shared or “pooled.” This means that a single website can either be hosted across multiple servers or crammed into a single multitenant server with several other websites. Websites (or any other service or solution) hosted on a public cloud also have to share the same networking hardware and data backup systems. Like the high customer-to-support-staff ratio, pure multitenancy lowers the costs of both the hosted and host as long as the public cloud infrastructure functions perfectly. However, public cloud data centers are composed of thousands of different hardware and software components that can fail at any time. And, as the Go Daddy outage and prior Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure incidents demonstrate, a singular malfunction can shut down the services of millions of customers at once due to the interconnectivity of public clouds.
-Third, even if the hacker’s claim of responsibility for the GoDaddy outage turns out to be false, the claim itself demonstrates the appeal to cybercriminals and hacktivists of attacking public clouds. Hackers do not just commit their crimes for financial reasons. Some of them will hack big-name companies for the bragging rights or to make a political statement. And public clouds are the most well-known and highest-profile type of IT infrastructure.
In contrast, a private cloud infrastructure would have protected against, contained, or mitigated the effects of an outage like GoDaddy’s. Each private cloud has a dedicated technical support team that can answer questions, provide information, and respond to problems at any time. Users of private clouds do not have wait in a customer service phone queue or check their hosting company’s Twitter feed for updates on the status of their infrastructure. The technical support team will respond immediately to any issue, minimizing the clients’ losses due to the slow performance and downtime of their hosted solutions. In addition, private clouds have a less interconnected infrastructure. An issue with a single private cloud will not spread to other infrastructures in the same data center. As a result, the widespread outages of GoDaddy, Amazon EC2, and Microsoft Azure would be impossible with private clouds.
To further ensure the reliability of their IT infrastructure, companies should select Hosted Solutions from the private cloud hosting provider IronOrbit. Our helpful and experienced technicians are available 24x7x365 to assist you with any questions or problems. We also provide around-the-clock security and performance monitoring to protect and maintain your infrastructure all day and all night long. Furthermore, our Orbital Security System uses access control, firewalls, antivirus, antispyware, and IPS/IDS to ensure the maximum reliability of your Hosted Solutions. With IronOrbit you don’t have to worry about outages or unintended downtime—our private clouds are too well-managed and secure to fail.