Skift Take

Travel companies should fine-tune their cloud strategies after an Amazon Web Services outage took down Room 77, Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix. Given the cost-savings and efficiencies of cloud computing, travel companies won't be abandoning such services -- nor should they -- any time soon.

Author: Dennis Schaal

Room 77, which saw its website and iPhone app go down for more than 20 hours last weekend when lightning killed the power to an Amazon Web Services facility in Virginia, will clearly stick with cloud computing.

Kevin Fliess, Room 77 general manager, says the hotel-shopping site has used Amazon Web Services for more than two years and he called the outage “a real anomaly.”

“To stop using the cloud would be like giving up air travel because of a single crash,” Fliess says.

in a blog post about the incident, which also temporarily shuttered Instagram, Pinterest and Netflix, Room 77 states it “will be investing in greater data center redundancy across geographical regions, improving monitoring and alert systems, and providing better customer support.”

During the outage, which began at 11 p.m. EST June 29 and ended 7:30 p.m. the next evening, Room 77 provided customer service via email and through its toll-free number.

Several other travel and travel-related websites, including Airbnb, foursquare, GOL airlines, Hotelogix, InterContinental Hotels, Red Lion Hotels and Yelp, use various Amazon cloud services, according to Amazon and published reports.

It isn’t known if these companies were utilizing the Virginia facility; none of them reported any problems.

The Amazon Web Services outage in Virginia has sparked online discussions about better ways to use Amazon tools, and other steps, to avoid such service disruptions in the future.

And, some companies may want to consider additional geographic and vendor redundancies or — perish the thought —  even hosting their own services, although the latter option may be cost-prohibitive.

Google announced at a developers’ conference last week that it intends to enter the cloud-infrastructure arena and would compete against Amazon, although there is a lot of skepticism about Google’s prospects.

The Amazon outage has done nothing to dissuade Room 77 and other travel companies, including Hotelogix, which bases its business on cloud computing, from seeing the value in such web services.

On the day of the Amazon outage, Hotelogix tweeted about the value of its own cloud-based hotel management system, warning hotel clients that all clouds are not created equally, when held up against its own offering, of course.

Contrary to myth, lightning can strike twice in the same place, and the increasing popularity of cloud services means travel companies and others had better rethink their redundancy and backup plans.

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