Cloud Availability and Reliability

Nowadays, cloud computing and its services are at the top of the list of buzzwords in the IT world. It is a recent trend in IT that can be considered as a paradigm shift for providing IT & computing resources through the network. One of the best and most popular definitions of cloud computing is the NIST definition proposed in 2009 and updated in 2011. According to this definition, “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction”.

Recent advances in cloud computing are pushing virtualization more than ever. In other words, cloud computing services can be considered as a significant step towards realizing the utility computing concept.In such a computing model, services can be accessed by users regardless of where they are hosted or how they are delivered.

Over the years, computing trends such as cluster computing, grid computing, service-oriented computing and virtualization have gained maturity but cloud computing is still in infancy, and experiences lack of complete standards and solutions.

High Availability (HA) and reliability in cloud computing services are some of the hot challenges. The probability that a system is operational in a time interval without any failures is represented as the system reliability, whereas the availability of a system at time ‘t’ is referred to as the probability that the system is up and functional correctly at that instance in time.HA for cloud services is essential for maintaining customer’s confidence and preventing revenue losses due to service level agreement (SLA) violation penalties .In recent years, cloud computing environments have received significant attention from global business and government agencies for supporting critical mission systems . However, the lack of reliability and high availability of cloud services is quickly becoming a major issue . Research reports express that about $285 million have been lost yearly due to cloud service failures and offering availability of about 99.91%.

Cloud computing service outage can seriously impact workloads of enterprise systems and consumer data and applications. Amazon’s EC2 outage on April, 2011 is an example of one of the largest cloud disasters. Several days of Amazon cloud services unavailability resulted in data loss of several high profile sites and serious business issues for hundreds of IT managers.Furthermore, according to the CRN reports, the 10 biggest cloud service failure of 2017, including IBM’s cloud infrastructure failure on January 26, GitLab’s popular online code repository service outage on January 31, Facebook on February 24, Amazon Web Services on February 28, Microsoft Azure on March 16, Microsoft Office 365 on March 21 and etc., caused production data loss, and prevented customers from accessing their accounts, services, projects and critical data for very long and painful hours. In addition, credibility of cloud providers took a hit in these service failures and unavailability.

 

 

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