Investment Technology Partners' Chief Technology Officer Comments on Amazon System Outage

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John Boulanger of Investment Technology Partners, a Wall Street based provider of outsourced IT infrastructure services, stresses the need for small and medium sized firms to understand the basic system architecture of any outsourced IT providers they engage to ensure reliability, uptime and business continuity.

Maybe Amazon isn't engineered with the little guys in mind

With the technology team at Amazon now likely spending their immediate future doing a post mortem on last week’s outage [as reported by the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal late last week], a question was raised. “Did Amazon have all its eggs in one proverbial Amazon built basket?” Mr. Boulanger quipped over the Easter holiday. “While the overall reliability of these monster-sized cloud providers is terrific, the end user experience, particularly for the small businesses involved, was very alarming last week. In what sounds like hours, upon hours, of downtime in the middle of the workday, one can only suspect that customers had to find that experience crushing. You have to get a feeling that all the best intentions of these smaller firms to advance their technology needs by embracing the cloud get shattered when something like this happens. Maybe Amazon just isn’t engineered with the little guys in mind.”

ITP works primarily with financial advisory firms. Unlike some particular cloud models where all their clients sit in proprietary data centers, ITP consciously diversifies that concentration risk for its clients. ITP owns and manages all its systems – all the switches, routers, servers and the like – but we do so in multiple, unrelated data centers. “What we mean by unrelated, is that we contract the space for our environments with data center operators that are completely separate business entities from each other; each data center having its own security and its own multiple access points to the internet. What this allows us to do is build each ITP client their own locally redundant, and then remotely duplicated private clouds, in a way that is further secured by having the diversification of the physical nature and location of the unrelated data centers we employ.” Mr. Boulanger said.

“Moreover, to further safeguard our clients from an Amazon like outage, we still choose to maintain, at our cost, a local data server on our client’s site which has real-time, bi-directional connectivity to our data centers. This ensures that even in a highly unlikely scenario where by our multiple, unrelated centers were to experience a simultaneous outage, our clients would still maintain productivity from their local environment. We’ve engineered this “hybrid cloud” because we know our financial clients, as fiduciaries to their customers, cannot lose their access to the financial markets.”


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Christopher Anderson

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