Amazon’s AWS outage – did the Cloud Fail?


There was a major outage in one of Amazon’s regions affecting several availability zones last Thursday.

– For a summary of the events and their impact see this blog entry of RightScale (I guess but I am not sure if it was written by Thorsten). The RightScale blog is updated now with some more details of the event.


– George Reese, the grand homme of Cloud Computing, calls this event a shining moment for clouds. Don’t get me wrong. I am big fan of George, not only because he is following me on twitter :). He gave a podcast interview repeating that you need to design for the cloud by designing for failure instead of sticking with your traditional architecture.

– Amazon did an poor job communicating what happened. Failures are a part of business but they have to be dealt with accordingly. Add this to your lessons learned list about Clouds. At least I did. Here is their summary.

In my Cloud Computing book there is a whole chapter about RightScale (who provided the best analysis so far) as well as a section about disaster recovery and another one on designing for clouds (“why it is not enough to simply run WebLogic on AWS”) . There is also a free chapter for download available at Oracle’s Archbeat site.

IMHO this event teaches us that it is not enough to know how to simply run WebLogic on AWS or any other IaaS cloud provider such as Rackspace. By the way, this is one of the reasons why my book has more than the initially planned 120 pages …

2-day Amazon AWS Cloud Computing Workshop / Training Course

For an updated version of this workshop see here or contact me directly.

I’ll be offering a 2-day cloud computing workshop 2+3. May 2011 in city center of Munich. A second event is planned for Sydney later this year and will be announced by the Australian Oracle User Group.

After a basic introduction and the discussion of common misconceptions we will cover advanced topics such as how to achieve true elasticity, load balancing in clouds, queueing, notifications and databases in clouds. This workshop is centered around Amazon Web Services (AWS) technologies such as EC2 EBS images, RDS, SQS, SNS, ELB etc.

The workshop includes a free copy of my Middleware and Cloud Computing book, printed course material, a pre-configured lab environment to take home as a virtual image on DVD.

Please contact me via email for registration and further details.

Reduce Costs Amazon AWS, Rackspace Cloud and other IaaS Providers

Anybody working regularly with IaaS providers such as Amazon or Rackspace can recount a personal story of a forgotten instance.

The most dramatic stories are not about a cheap micro instance – my personal story with AWS cost me some US$200 when I missed to turn off an EC2 instance and went for a diving trip to Egypt. I’ve got a number of suggestions that might save you some money.


  • Above all, you want to avoid paying for unused resources. Using auto scaling is a great mechanism for running only the required instances, and for example, to scale down at night when fewer EC2 instances are required.
  • Often the monthly bill tells you that there something is still running somewhere. Make sure you stop unused resources as quickly as possible. If you know in advance that you want them to be stopped at the end of the day, then use the Unix at command to schedule the termination of the instances.
  • Although AWS management console provides dashboards, there is no super-dashboard. Instead, you have to flip through all tabs yourself (starting from from the “S3” tab to “EC2” and all the tabs up until “RDS”). Only after checking all tabs can you be sure you have an accurate overview of the current resources for the selected region.
  • Remind yourself that the AWS management console is always displaying resources per region. Once you switch to another region, e.g. from Asia/Pacific to Europe, you will no longer be able to see instances running in Asia/ Pacific.
  • The console is sometimes out of sync. When this happens, remember to click on the refresh button so as to avoid only seeing outdated information.
  • The command-line tools I introduce later will work with resources for the default region in the US (unless you specify otherwise). Remain vigilant at all times e.g. when working in Europe do not start and then forget an instance in the US.
  • Always double check for running instances before engaging in another project, leaving for a sabbatical or a trip around the world.

Be careful and make sure you don’t wast money that is better spend for a fabulous diving trip.

These tips are taken out of my Middleware and Cloud Computing book.


Update as of May 2012:

You can setup billing alerts now for AWS and use SNS to recalculate your auto scaling. See Jeff’s posting on AWS typepad here.

New Oracle WLS 11g (10.3.4), OSB 11g and Cloud Courses

I will offer a number of courses and workshops during the following weeks in right in the center of Munich. As usual all course dates and details will be announced on my mailing list. Right now it is the perfect time to subscribe to the mailing list if you haven’t done yet (there is approx. 1 announcement per quarter, of course you can unsubscribe any time).


The following courses are planned:

Feel free to contact me directly for other trainings or different locations (all courses are available word-wide),

have a great week!

Announcement: Winners of the Cloud Book Raffle

Yes, it took me a while for this announcement. Books are surprisingly time consuming even after they are written. Yet the two copies of my book

“Middleware and Cloud Computing”

are already on their way to the happy winners:
– T. K. from Xensio (DE)
– E. F. from Sunrise (CH)

Congratulations 🙂

And a Merry Christmas to all of you!

P.S. An official announcement of the book will follow. It’s available in the US and can be ordered in DE and UK.

PP.S. We are almost living in 2011. Marketing is changing. Show the world that you LIKE the book’s web site. Spread the word, invite your friends, tell your colleagues. There will be more stuff to be won… Cheers!