Amazon cloud outage makes the Internet suck

Major web sites such as Reddit are currently experiencing outages today due to issues at a Northern Virgina-based cloud server operation hosted by Amazon. According to a message from Amazon's Service Health Dashboard:

We are currently experiencing degraded performance for EBS volumes in a single Availability Zone in the US-EAST-1 Region. New launches for EBS backed instances are failing and instances using affected EBS volumes will experience degraded performance.

The outage started around 1:38 pm Eastern Time and Reddit has been bouncing off and on as of this writing, showing its visitors its rather friendly and cute message above. Venture Beat reports that other sites affected by the Amazon outage include Airbnb, Flipboard, Coursera and more.

This is not the first time that Amazon's cloud servers in Northern Virginia have had problems. In July, a massive electrical storm caused several of those servers to go offline for several hours. This caused services such as Netflix and Instagram, among others, to be inaccessible for that period of time. At the time, Amazon said a backup generator that failed to kick in was part of the reason for the outages. There's no word yet on what specifically is causing today's issues.

Source: Amazon | Image via Reddit

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thealexweb said,

No one has 100% uptime, Azure goes down occasionally too.

I've always found Azure to have much better failsafes - as a rule they generally try to keep multiple hosted copies of your service located in different data centres around the world, so you should be fine in if one data centre goes down. When an Amazon data centre goes down... their fail safes don't seem to function quite as well. Which is surprising, given how many times it's gone down in recent times.

... of course, neither of them are perfect though.

Edited by ~Johnny, Oct 22 2012, 8:09pm :

the420kid said,
i read a great article today about major cloud outages. putting your whole biz in the cloud is For Dummies :-P

Tell that to Apple whose services are entirely run from Amazon and Azure.

deadonthefloor said,

Tell that to Apple whose services are entirely run from Amazon and Azure.

The only thing i'd use the "Cloud" for is CDN, obviously me placing my content over multiples places is going to be more costly than the "Cloud" just to host some data

WinRT said,
guess is time to move to Azure

Sheesh guy. Azure is worst in everything, shady billing process, expensive, unstable, slow and without counting the usual "microsoft surprises".

Brony said,

Sheesh guy. Azure is worst in everything, shady billing process, expensive, unstable, slow and without counting the usual "microsoft surprises".


what the hell? no

I wonder if Reddit and other sites that are only using one availability zone have plans to take advantage of multiple zones if their budget allows it.

this is what....the 3rd of 4th outtage in the last 2-3 years from Amazon? I'll say it again, the cloud is a dumb idea. It's great for things like Dropbox, photosharing, etc...but for mission critical websites/phone systems/CRM's, etc, it simply won't work.

We use Salesforce, and Contactual. if one of contactual's datacenters go down, so does our inbound lines. Last time 2 contactual servers went down, our customers got a busy tone for over an hour. That is unacceptable, or at least would be if I ran my own business.

The Cloud has it's place, but not for mission critical stuff. You'll see these stories again.

I think people are missing the point of cloud.


Cloud is NOT meant to never go down. All technology will go down at some point. Even if these services are being hosted internally the same outage could still happen. The benefit is that you are not maintaining the infrastructure to run the services and you have an agreed to SLA. Hence the SLA…A Service Level Agreement that says; We will provide you this, for this cost and it will be available to you no less than this period of time. SLAs are in place to allow down time.

So how does a little outage make Amazon, Cloud and Internet suck? If Dropbox or other online storage goes offline for one day or maybe two days over a year…Do those services now SUCK. If you think it does, then go buy a 30K storage array, pay for a high bandwidth data link, create custom software that will sync all your devices and give you real-time access to your data EVERYWHERE at once. And then duplicate that solution in another GEO area and pay for that too, and finally...Guarantee yourself and/or your customers/users that it will never go offline, even for one day.

Cloud is great. DataCenter technology being provided to those who cant afford it and/or don't know how to do it, for a reasonable monthly cost and an internet connection. No internal IT staff required to operate it, etc….Having worked in I.T. for 15 years at fortune 500 companies....The same crap happens to them all the time and more than 2 days per year...And for home users with laptops and desktops and tablets and smartphones....Its a guarantee they are going down and losing data more than 2 days per year...

Cloud, Amazon AWS and others services like this are the best damn thing to come to the internet in a while...

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