Prepare for AWS outage
Amazon AWS Outage
How to prepare for & protect against damage from AWS Cloud Outages
Newvem tracks the usage pattern of hundreds of Amazon AWS customers and has identified that more than 35% of its beta users are operating an Amazon AWS cloud that is highly vulnerable to outages, such as:
No availability during an AWS outage
Newvem has identified many cases in which AWS users have not properly configured their Elastic Load Balancers (ELBs) and will not achieve required availability levels during an outage. Ironically, 20% of heavy users have unhealthy instances behind their ELBs, presenting the highest-level exposure for data loss and potential downtime suffrage, ELBs cannot distribute traffic and data to these instances. Not surprisingly, 27% of first-time AWS customers are not configuring their ELBs effectively and are not able to achieve expected availability and performance.
Damage from an AWS outage
Newvem has found that only 60% of AWS users back up all of their Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes. Put in another way, 40% of AWS users’ Cloud data, applications and infrastructure are not backed up and vulnerable to a service outage. As a result, many AWS users spent more than 5 hours after recent outages trying to reconfigure their servers.
>> Newvem’s KnowYourCloud Analytics to the rescue
>> Ensure availability during an AWS outage and protect yourself against AWS outage damage
How to protect and prevent damage
Newvem’s KnowYourCloud Analytic service will scan your AWS footprint and detect how prepared you are against the above vulnerabilities and will provide detailed information on how to fix and more:
- Which ELBs are not configured properly
- How to better configure ELBs across availability zones
- Which instances behind ELB are not healthy and require attention
- Which EBS volumes are not backed up
- Which EBS snapshots are stale and required to be refreshed
AWS Outage protection and prevention best practices
Our analytics team has put together this list of five essential business practices to make an AWS cloud better protected from service outages. Best practices to both prevent and protect against damage that can happen with AWS outages.
1. Take advantage of multiple availability zones when using Elastic Load Balancer (ELB).
Load balancing your application’s incoming traffic between multiple instances makes it more fault-tolerant. In addition, you can further enhance fault tolerance by enabling Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) across multiple availability zones. In the event that one availability zone goes down, the ELB will still ensure uptime by distributing traffic across the instances on the other availability zones.
2. Be aware of unhealthy instances behind ELBs.
Unhealthy instances do not receive traffic from ELBs. This means that even if you have enough instances behind an ELB (even across multiple availability zones), an unhealthy instance will not receive traffic at all.
3. Maintain timely snapshots of your EBSs.
In the case that an outage damages an EBS volume, a user can recreate the volume from a snapshot, in the same state as the time of the snapshot. If the availability zone where the EBS was active remains down for a long time, the user can provision an EBS volume from a snapshot in another availability zone. Volumes are tied to availability zones, but snapshots are tied only to the region. In case your volumes are unavailable in one availability zone, you can restore the last saved snapshot onto another availability zone.
4. Keep critical data copies off the AWS Cloud.
It’s very important to keep offsite copies of critical data. We’d also suggest that you consider a third-party offsite service to back up your data. However, use caution here, as some of these services may actually run on top of AWS.
5. Use an external tool to monitor your system.
AWS CloudWatch is a handy service to monitor your AWS resources, yet the level of inter-dependency of AWS services isn’t always clear — in other words, it may not be reliable in the event of an outage. For this reason, while CloudWatch can be your routine monitoring system for AWS, you should consider an external monitoring system, separate from AWS, which will alert you of an outage independently.
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