Cloud Services Providers: Plan for Outages

Creative Cloud Login Screen

A login issue prevented customers from accessing Adobe Systems’ Creative Cloud services for nearly 24 hours.

“We’re currently experiencing an outage affecting user’s ability to sign in to our services. We are working on a fix—stay tuned,” Adobe tweeted May 14. Until the company fixed the issue, customers couldn’t purchase or upgrade software, or sign out of their account without locking themselves out of the system.

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In mid-2013, Adobe chose to focus the bulk of its software-development efforts on Creative Cloud. That movement away from boxed software seemed logical, given the tech industry’s migration to the cloud, but it risked alienating those customers used to owning their own copies of InDesign, Illustrator, and other Adobe products.

At the time, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen suggested that migrating to the cloud would result in better piracy controls and speedier upgrade cycles, among other potential benefits. “Companies that wish to thrive in this next tech era need to embrace or perish,” he told Mashable. “We’re not only embracing, we’re leading.”

But the login issue illustrates the cloud’s Achilles’ heel: For all its benefits, any sort of outage necessarily forces service—and the work dependent on it—to a standstill. Although everyone expects the occasional outage, it doesn’t hurt for cloud-service providers to figure out ways to minimize the fallout of downtime:

Step One: Plan for failure, and build redundancies into your existing systems.

Step Two: Review your procedures for when downtimes occur, and make sure that everyone knows their roles in restoring full service.

Step Three: Create a communications plan. How will you keep customers updated on what’s going on?

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Image: Adobe

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