Although the cloud is a safe, secure place to do business, it isn’t invincible as residents of the East Coast of the U.S. discovered the hard way.  Severe thunder storms that struck the eastern United States on Jun. 29, 2012, caused numerous power outages, one of which downed Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud data center, located in northern Virginia.

Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest and other companies that use Amazon’s cloud solution crashed when Amazon’s data center lost power. Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest have since recovered and started doing business as usual.

At 12:56 pm PDT on Jun. 30, Amazon posted the following update on the Amazon Web Services page, regarding the power issues that have affected its Elastic Compute Cloud:

EC2 (ElasticCache2) instances and EBS (Elastic Beanstalk) volumes are operating normally. Some EBS volumes may have inconsistent data as a result of the power outage. Affected volumes will have their statuses in the “Status Checks” column in the Volume list in the AWS Management Console listed as “Impaired.” Please login to the AWS Management Console and perform the steps described above to Enable Volume IO on the affected volumes. We are continuing to work on processing our provisioning backlog for ELB load balancers.

Amazon’s locations in South America, Europe and Asia Pacific were all running normally as of 2:41 pm PDT on Jun. 30.

According to PC World, another power outage occurred at the same northern Virginia facility on Jun. 15 as the result of not only a “series of power-infrastructure failures” but also a failed generator cooling fan.

The outages that struck Amazon and adversely affected several of its clients should not deter or frighten those who are considering migrating their companies’ data to the cloud. Disaster comes in many forms. What happened to Amazon could serve as a lesson for business leaders who have yet to create disaster recovery plans for their companies. Having a disaster recovery plan isn’t enough. The plan and all backups must be tested regularly to ensure that, should a business get knocked down by a disaster – whether natural or man-made – all data and applications can be recovered quickly to minimize downtime for both the business and its clients.

Concerned about the cloud?  Consult with us, we can help you understand how to best use the cloud for your business.