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TL; DR:

Shit happens. Don't use AWS as your only platform, you will get burned sometime. Guaranteed, you will also get burned if you try to host and run your own stuff. How competent you are determines which way you get burned less.




Actually, starting right now, AWS is probably your best bet.

Old story about Chuck Yeager from the 1950's: one time shortly after take-off, Yeager's aircraft suffered an engine failure, and he had to do an emergency semi-crash landing. When he realized that a mechanic had put the wrong type of fuel in the plane, he went looking for the guy. The mechanic profusely apologized, said he would resign and never work in aviation again. Yeager replied something along the lines of "Nonsense. In fact, I need someone to refuel my plane right now, and I want you to be the one to fuel it. That's because of all the guys here, I know you'll be the one guy who'll be sure to do it right."

Probably apocryphal, but the point has merit.


This is mentioned in 'How to win friends and influence people' where the anecdote is about Bob Hoover and Jet fuel put in a WW2 plane. It is used as an example that it is easy to criticize and complain but that it takes character to be understanding.


Or, if you use AWS as your only platform, accept that shit will happen from time to time. Unless your application is a matter of life and death, or unless billions of dollars are at stake, a little downtime now and then probably isn't that big a deal. (All my sites went down when Heroku did (including railstutorial.org, which pays my bills), but the losses are acceptable given the convenience of not having to run my own servers.)


I think it's reasonable to escalate criticism of Heroku for remaining in a single AZ. They have had plenty of time and resources to fix this, and haven't, despite being quite competent. I don't know if it is that they don't think it's necessary (due to the profile of their current customers) or what, but I wouldn't use Heroku for anything as long as they remain in a single AZ, and would be really reluctant to advise other people to do so. I obviously really like the Heroku team and product and would love to use them otherwise.

It wouldn't even need to be true seamless failover across AZs right away -- just offering a us-west and us-east Heroku would be enough for me, with shared nothing (maybe billing, or not even that), and then figure out redundancy yourself inside your app. Multiple regions is WAY better than multiple AZs within a region, too -- both for reliability and for locality.

Obviously a real seamless multi AZ/multi region solution would be much more technically impressive, useful to users, and Heroku-like, but they shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good here.


While I'd agree with the general premise that diversification is a good thing in platform use if high-availability is a requirement, given that this outage was single-AZ, this particular outage should really highlight the point that your application should be multi-AZ scaled if it needs to be up.


More accurately: “don't trust any single data center”. All of the people who complained were directly ignoring Amazon's own advice, not to mention decades of engineering experience.

Going multi-AZ, multi-region or multi-cloud will help, each step up that list being significantly more work for increasingly small returns.


Yes. Also, stop navel-gazing (usually that means stop reading Hacker News). Stop commenting on Hacker News as well. Funny thing about the Singularity/aliens/heaven--it'll come even if you don't spend a lot of time worrying about it.


What?




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