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The New AWS Status Page: Updated Look, Same Problems?

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Status Page has long been a source of frustration and jokes in the cloud and DevOps space.

It’s easy to see why. When there’s a significant outage, such as in December 2021, everything from social media to news, entertainment, and Amazon itself went down. Unfortunately for AWS, past negative impressions mean they’re often blamed (unfairly) for status issues that aren’t their fault.

It appears they’re trying to change those impressions by releasing a new Status Page. Here are our first thoughts.

A new look, but not much else

On February 28th, 2022, AWS released the first iteration of a new Health Dashboard.

It replaces the old status page, which is no longer accessible as it automatically redirects to the new dashboard.

No doubt a refresh was due, but the new dashboard is mostly a design update. It looks better than the last page, with some minimal functional improvements, but it’s more of the same overall.

Notable new AWS Health Dashboard capabilities

At first glance, some improvements go beyond design. For example, you can filter by searching for a region or service, which is helpful when pinpointing outages.

AWS has also added historical representation of service health by day.

While it gives next to no details beyond basic service health, getting a snapshot wasn’t an option before.

Finally, you can see when the page was last updated.

A good start, perhaps, but still not enough.

Where AWS still lags behind with status pages

The AWS status page may look cleaner, but it’s still essentially a list of regions and service combinations. There’s little clarity or detail about what a status means or even the options for other situations.

On December 7th, there was a significant outage in US-East-2 (Northern Virginia), AWS wrote a long postmortem. However, looking at the new dashboard, it’s not easy to see this outage took down many internet-connected apps.

Finally, we don’t see any indication that AWS intends to change the process that results in a service being listed as degraded or down in the public status page. And, as we understand it, that’s a major, politically fraught, not to mention lengthy process inside AWS.

What we still don’t know

Questions about the new Health Dashboard remain. A few big ones come to mind, including:

  • What will the public page look like when there is a notable issue?
  • Does the Health Dashboard continue to be significantly dependent on AWS, and is it tolerant to regional outages?
  • Will AWS continue to invest in this dashboard, or will it be left as-is for years to come?

There seems to be an emphasis on “health” vs. “status” with this new dashboard. And users are pushed to log in to their Personal Health Dashboards to access more information, which comes with its own set of pros and cons.

What AWS users really need

There’s a long list of ways AWS can improve, but here’s what we hear the most:

  • Quicker status updates; don’t make us wait so long!
  • Less mystery around severity.
  • More explicit details about what is happening, expectations, and other services impacted.
  • Being explicit about when things are healthy rather than displaying the same green check from the last time a service recovered.
  • Allow more customization for users on the dashboard to save filters and layouts that can make it easy to return to or spot issues at a glance.

Now, we wait

Until we see a notable outage, it’s virtually impossible to know if AWS will provide more detail than they’ve been willing to in the past, if it will be easier to find what we need, or if status updates will be posted more quickly.

That leaves it as a wait-and-see game to see how this new dashboard will work. In the meantime, Metrist provides a single view into the functional health and status of all your third party infrastructure, API, and SaaS dependencies. Sign up for free at https://app.metrist.io/signup to see what we can do for you today.

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