CloudCheckr : Amazon Complexity Challenges Many Users

A recently released infographic from CloudCheckr (http://cloudcheckr.com/) sheds quite a bit of light on the importance of expert advice when an enterprise decides to deploy to the cloud.

When AWS made Trusted Advisor free for the month of March, they took that opportunity to conduct an internal survey of their customers’ usage. CloudCheckr compared the initial scans of 400 users against a list of 125+ best practice checks. The survey was limited to users with over 10 EC2 instances. In aggregate, the users represent a total of just over 16,000 EC2 instances.

They categorized survey results into 3 main categories: Cost, Availability, and Security; and that over 99% of their users were operating with at least one serious best practice exception. Their primary conclusion was that although cost often grabs the headlines, users suffer from a large number of availability and security issues.

When considering availability, there were numerous serious configuration issues. Users repeatedly failed to optimally configure Auto Scaling and ELB. The failure to create sufficient EBS snapshots was an almost universal issue. When looking at security, they saw a smaller number of issues. However, the ones that did arise were very serious. Specifically, in S3, they saw nearly 1 in 5 users allowed unfettered access to their buckets through “Upload /Delete” or “Edit Permissions” set to everyone. As we explained in an earlier whitepaper, anyone using a simple bucket finder tool could locate and access these buckets.

In short, typical Amazon Web Services users are not following relatively well know best practices when they deploy to the cloud. This is not an indictment of the cloud computing model, but rather a realization that most cloud users can benefit greatly from the advice and support of a professional cloud deployment team.

Specific conclusion as provided by CloudChekr, are :

  • 96% of all users experienced at least 1 cost related exception (with many experiencing multiple exceptions).
  • Price optimization remains a large hurdle for AWS users
  • Nearly 98% suffered from at least 1 availability related exception.
  • 44% of our users had at least one serious security related exception present
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