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How one user (successfully) managed the Amazon cloud reboot

Brandon Butler | Oct. 1, 2014
The lesson: Prepare for failure

"We've built our system to run in multiple AZs within a region, so we can hopefully survive some instances going down," he says. "We built this with the idea that the infrastructure can fail, so this was a great time to test it out."

When Felichko joined the company was hosted in a managed service provider, but one of his first tasks at the company was to transition off of a Savvis service and onto AWS's cloud. He had been impressed with the variety of services AWS offers and the customer case studies AWS boasts about, from Netflix to AirBNB.

Since migrating over earlier this year Felichko hasn't looked back, even with a little hiccup like the recent reboot situation. In the old setup, architecting the website to be spread across multiple data centers was extraordinarily complicated. The company even ran internal backups of some data for caching. Now, all of that has been moved over to AWS's cloud, and spreading across multiple AZs is as easy as configuring a handful of AWS's services. "It's been not that bad of an experience compared to using a dedicated hosting environment," he says about using the cloud. In the dedicated hosting environment once when there was a hardware issue PropertyRooms went down for six hours. Since transitioning to Amazon it hasn't experienced any significant down time.

Overall, the last half a week has been slightly stressful, but Felichko understands why AWS did what it did. Amazon has released scant details as to the actual reason for the mass reboot, but it is related to a security issue that many suspect is in the Xen hypervisor. It's not likely that all customers had as smooth of a process as Felichko. But most users who have taken to Twitter to vent about the issue bemoan a minor inconvenience rather than a devastating outage. Felichko may have lost a couple hours of sleep on Monday waiting for the maintenance to occur, but in the grand scheme of things he'll take that tradeoff for all the other advantages the cloud brings.


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