Cloud Outages: Planning for IT – and Business – Resiliency

Cloud & MSP Solutions

It’s Not a Question of If, but When, a Cloud Outage Will Take You Down.

If it seems like you’re hearing about cloud outages more often, you’re right. Although public cloud providers offer high-availability (HA) services with service-level agreements (SLAs) of 99.9% or greater, outages still happen, and they can still be devastating to your business.

In addition to the monetary impact of lost sales and transactions, customer dissatisfaction, and the potential for regulatory compliance exposure, outages increase the potential damage to your business and brand. And the numbers can be big: In 2021, 44% of firms indicated that hourly downtime costs exceeded $1 million to more than $5 million—not including any legal fees, fines, or penalties.1

In the rush to cloud, many organizations anticipated an easy and seamless journey. Unfortunately, they quickly realized that there are considerable new complexities when designing a cloud environment.

Increased complexity can introduce new risks, including downtime associated with:

  • Human errors
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Increased time to repair and recover
  • Limited visibility into your environment

While cloud outages are unavoidable, you can plan to minimize the impact to your business.

As Outages Increase, So Does the Need to Plan for Them.

In 2021, major cloud providers experienced numerous outages, impacting the companies that rely on them for their cloud-based services. While you may not have 200+ million users, like Netflix does, or 150,000 customers, like Salesforce does, that doesn’t mean that a cloud outage is any less impactful or damaging. Let’s look at a few of the most recent downtime events in a year that brought unprecedented dependence on cloud technologies and changes in the way businesses work. In the past three months alone, major outages affected cloud customers across a wide range of geographies and public cloud providers:

  • October 2021—Microsoft customers experienced a global outage of Azure virtual machine service and other Azure services for close to eight hours.
  • November 2021—Google Cloud services went down during an outage that lasted almost an hour.
  • December 2021—Amazon’s AWS “US-East-1” cloud region went down, causing an outage that lasted most of the day.

While these are just a sampling of cloud service outages, they are not the first—and they won’t be the last. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that no cloud provider—no matter how big or far reaching—is immune to disruption or outages.

In 2021, 44% of firms indicated that hourly downtime costs exceeded $1 million to more than $5 million—not including any legal fees, fines, or penalties.¹

Planning in Advance for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

When a cloud provider experiences an outage, the impact to your business will depend on how the applications are architected and the location of your workloads. Ideally, you’re taking advantage of the resiliency that’s available with cloud providers. However, if you didn’t build high availability into your applications and are entrusting the cloud providers to manage failover of your environments, you could see them go down, and you’ll have no control over when they come back.

Obviously, cloud providers will try to get their environment back up and running as quickly as possible, but relying on them isn’t a viable or sustainable business strategy. While SLAs give you some level of accountability, they don’t ensure that your workloads will fail over and get back online when you need them. In reality, an SLA doesn’t give any protection against outages.

Developing a plan to recover in advance of a cloud outage is the only way to address this challenge. Disaster recovery and business continuity plans give you greater control over when failovers occur, and they don’t force you to rely on cloud providers. Identifying third-party tools and solutions can also help support and increase your environment’s resiliency, because they can provide enhancements and features that native cloud providers aren’t able to offer.

If we’ve learned anything to date, it’s that no cloud provider—no matter how big or far reaching—is immune to disruptions or outages.

Planning in Advance for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity with EchoStor

Asking the right questions and engaging the right partner before your cloud provider experiences an outage are the keys to ensuring the resiliency and availability of your workloads. Yes, planning for unexpected cloud outages isn’t simple, but with the right partner, it doesn’t need to be so difficult. It begins with understanding your applications, their business impact, and your recovery objectives.

Some things to keep in mind when designing and deploying applications in the cloud:

  • Ensure that applications are deployed with high availability in mind.
  • Determine if the environment/apps need to be rearchitected to meet business requirements.
  • Put a disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) plan in place.
  • Test your DRBC plan and optimize based upon results.
  • Don’t limit yourself to the options provided by cloud-native resources; explore third-party solutions.

A partner will help you answer questions that will inform the right strategy for your unique needs to ensure that your applications—and your business—aren’t at the mercy of cloud providers’ availability.


EchoStor partners with our clients to architect and design solutions that are purpose built to meet business goals. Our cloud-agnostic approach, and deep understanding of diverse hybrid environments, enable our team to evaluate how existing on-premises investments and cloud workloads can be optimized to achieve the benefits of the cloud, while meeting the resiliency and availability requirements of the business.

Discover how EchoStor can help your organization better manage and mitigate the risks of cloud outages with a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy designed around your business.

1 DiDio L, 12th annual 2021 Hourly Cost of Downtime survey, ITIC.


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Seth Piontek

Pre-Sales Solutions Architect

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