Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is perhaps the most famous cloud utility on the planet and it has suffered a multi-day outage that is just finally clearing on Sunday, April 24 (Easter Sunday, by coincidence, see the Amazon AWS dashboard). There will be some that say this failure of Amazon’s EC2 service, which appears to be localized to Amazon’s North Virginia site, is a black eye for cloud computing. Possibly fatal. Really? No one’s ever heard of a non-cloud data center going down? Amazon will no doubt learn from this experience and its cloud services will become that much more reliable in the future.
For cloud-based EDA services, this incident will still give many pause to consider what it means to have all of the design data for a project living in the cloud. Face it, that data’s going to live somewhere and it’s always going to be vulnerable to outage whether in your local server rack farm or in some remote data center. The question really comes down to how much guaranteed reliability can you afford and how much risk can your project afford.
Cadence has been offering cloud-based EDA services for several years. It’s the right choice for some companies and some projects. It’s not for others. Cloud-based EDA is a delivery mechanism and different delivery mechanisms come with different costs and different risks.
Amazon’s EC2 outage is far from the end of the discussion. Amazon is promising a postmortem after its affected EC2 services are restored. Well, they’re restored now, so it will be interesting and useful to see what’s been learned.