Amazon Web Services Cloud Outage: The Impact

Matthew Weinberger

April 22, 2011

2 Min Read
Amazon Web Services Cloud Outage: The Impact

What do Foursquare, Twitter, HootSuite, Reddit, Quora, and GroupMe all have in common? Well first off, they’re all very popular places for people to connect on the Internet. But more than that, they’re among the many websites that went down yesterday thanks to some serious Amazon Web Services (AWS) degradation. And where most cloud failures only let down isolated pockets of enterprise users, the widespread effects in this instance are bringing questions about cloud reliability to the mainstream.

Now, it should be noted that the real problems only hit the Amazon EC2 cloud and Relational Database Service (RDS) in the North Virginia availability center, meaning that the problem could have been a lot more widespread than it wound up being. But the degradation — which was still ongoing when I wrote this around 7:30pm ET last night — still affected many, many customer-facing websites and services.

Amazon hasn’t replied to requests for comment, and their forums are full of customers angrily demanding updates from AWS support staff. As it stands, it looks like the Amazon Service Health Dashboard is the only way right now to tell what’s going on. Many users are reporting that simply by shifting

It’s not Reddit’s first nightmare encounter with the limitations of Amazon Web Services, and I think several other technology managers are starting to ask themselves if AWS is right for them. And if any service providers were taking advantage of any of the failed services, we’d welcome your perspectives, too.

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