|Businesses are increasingly relying upon the cloud computing infrastructure for hosting their websites, storing their data, and deploying artificial intelligence. Using a cloud computing service saves businesses the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining their own IT infrastructure, allowing them instead to purchase the services and storage that they need. Amazon, like with many other aspects of the economy, dominates the cloud computing services industry, controlling 33 percent of the world's cloud infrastructure, while Microsoft controls only 20 percent of the market and Google controls a mere 10 percent of the market.
With many companies relying solely on Amazon Web Services (Amazon's cloud computing service), there is a significant risk that an outage in the cloud computing service could cripple not only Amazon's business, but the businesses that rely upon AWS for their own operations. This scenario played out on December 7, 2021, when AWS was down for the bulk of the day. Amazon packages could not be delivered, popular websites such as Disney+, Netflix and Hulu were knocked offline, and devices such Roomba were unable to operate.
However, while dependence on one computing cloud system is currently the norm, there are signs that businesses will have the ability to use multiple cloud sources in the future. HasiCorp, a promising new company that recently went public on the NASDAQ, allows businesses to tap into the three major cloud computing providers to pick and choose which servers to use for particular aspects of their IT infrastructure. At least one major retailer (Target) currently uses HashiCorp, citing the ability to be commercially independent and ease in moving from one server to another if the cost of one server becomes too great.
There are certainly pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to go to a multi-cloud server approach. Businesses will have to consider the cost of adapting to multiple cloud servers, in addition to having to adapt to the intricacies of different software services. One of the benefits of AWS is its global presence; companies can be assured that their platform is likely available in most locations, which might not be the case with other cloud servers. Yet, as seen with the AWS outage on December 7, by relying on one cloud service (like AWS), companies run the risk of being knocked offline (and the problems that come with it) and inaccessibility to their customers.
Dependence on one cloud computing service, while currently the norm, shows signs of changing in 2022. Companies such as HasiCorp and Aviatrix (a software company that helps clients monitor their network across multiple cloud services) are becoming increasingly popular, with large companies such as Target, Aflac, Avis, Heineken, and Roche now operating across multiple cloud servers. Companies are likely to take a closer look at their dependence on one cloud service in the upcoming year. With the already-strained supply chain, and delays in shipping only growing, an outage that impacts a company's shipping ability will only add to the woes.