Service Provider Cloud

AWS S3 Goes Down, Internet Snow Day Declared

Amazon Web Services is recovered from "high error rates" and outages due to disruption to its S3 simple storage service used by nearly 150,000 websites, including Netflix, Airbnb and Slack, as well as a little site you may have heard of called Light Reading.

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) reported the problem as fully resolved around 1:49 p.m. PST Tuesday, after an 11-hour outage.

During the outage, the Internet panicked and the world ended.

"Due to the #AWS outage and it's impact to Snapchat & other popular apps, millions of millennials just looked up for the first time in years," quipped Peter Ghosh, self-described "IT infrastructure advisor, dreamer & trainee standup comedian."

Showing there is some justice in the universe, Amazon Web Services Inc. 's own status dashboard was among the sites struck by the outage, as the icons used on the control panel are stored in AWS, and they showed up as green when they should have been red. "The dashboard not changing color is related to S3 issue. See the banner at the top of the dashboard for updates," Amazon said.

Also struck by the outage: downdetector.com, which couldn't report Internet site outages because of an outage at the Internet site it relies on to report outages.

The lesson for business: Don't put all your eggs in one basket, or all your business workloads in one cloud, says Cloud Foundry CTO Chip Childers. "Today's S3 crash will inevitably cost businesses millions of dollars. This is why all businesses need a multi-cloud strategy so they can adapt immediately when, inevitably, one of their cloud vendors experiences a failure. It's not Amazon's fault, it's inevitable," he said in an email statement.

The AWS outage is Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s cash cow coughing. Amazon reported net sales for AWS of $3.5 billion for the quarter ending December 31, up a beefy 47% year-over-year, with annual sales of $12.2 billion, up 55% year-over-year, the company said in its quarterly earnings early this month. (See AWS Growth Slows, But Amazon's Still Killing It in Cloud.)

But the stock market shrugged off the outage. Amazon stock traded at $845.04 after hours Tuesday, down 0.13% after hours and 0.42 during the day.

Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

Amazon accounts for 40% of global public cloud market, according to a report from Synergy Research Group. (See AWS Maintains Its Public Cloud Dominance. )

Some 148,000 websites use S3, according to a report from SimilarTech.

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— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

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danielcawrey 3/1/2017 | 9:08:16 PM
Re: Eggs and baskets Amazon has made a killing on AWS. But now we all realize that its dominance also makes us pretty dependent on their services always working. 

I can't say I'm a huge fan of centralization of web services like this. I think we need more distribution among systems, but it's not easy to make products easy to use in this way. Hopefully someday we'll be able to have a more decentralized internet. 
mendyk 3/1/2017 | 11:13:33 AM
Re: Eggs and baskets I'm thinking more about the macro context -- as in, if the public cloud business ends up with only two suppliers, it will be much easier to bring the global economy to a screeching halt through a malicious attack. Single points of failure are always a concern.
joseba4242 3/1/2017 | 10:58:50 AM
Re: Eggs and baskets The interesting question is how diversely the services were deployed within AWS. It is reported that only US-East-1 was affected so any services deployed resiliently in multiple regions should have stayed up.

It's not necessary to go all the way to supplier diversity to avoid such outages. A good single-suppler resilience strategy is sufficient, and considerably easier to implement.

mendyk 3/1/2017 | 10:32:58 AM
Eggs and baskets This outage is a reminder of why supplier diversification is important. Yes, the web giants want to dominate the known world, but it leaves said world vulnerable to single points of failure.
rauf.sulya 3/1/2017 | 4:35:57 AM
Unknown reason ???? AWS S3 Outage Includes Quora, newsletter provider Sailthru, Business Insider, Giphy, image hosting at a number of publisher websites, filesharing in Slack, and many more.
Connected lightbulbs, thermostats and other IoT hardware is also being impacted, with many unable to control these devices as a result of the outage.

What is the root cause of this outage ? What is the loss ? 
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