AWS Recovers After Weekend Outage

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AWS issue at an East Coast data centre caused weekend disruption for major websites

A problem at Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) data centre on the East coast of the US brought service disruption to a number of major websites over the weekend

The affected websites included Netflix, Reddit, Tinder, IMDB, as well as Amazon’s Instant Video and Books websites.

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amazonThe problem seems to have occurred on Sunday at the AWS facility in North Virginia. According to AWS’s status page, all services are now operating normally.

But on Sunday 20 September, Amazon CloudWatch (N. Virginia), Amazon DynamoDB (N. Virginia), Amazon Simple Email Service (N. Virginia), and a number of other services all experienced problems. All the issues stemmed from Amazon’s North Virginia data centre.

At 3.28am PDT it said it was investigating “increased faults and latencies”. By 5pm BST it managed to resolve the outages.

“We identified the root cause, the error has been corrected. The service is operating normally,” said Amazon.

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“Between 2:13 AM and 7:10 AM PDT on September 20, 2015, Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced significant error rates with read and write operations for the Amazon DynamoDB service in the US-East Region, which impacted some other AWS services in that region, and caused some AWS customers to experience elevated error rates,” an AWS spokesperson told TechweekEurope via email.

The issue highlights the difficulties a company can experience when it opts to use a public cloud service to host online services. AWS customers are unlikely to be very forgiving as problems like this can have a major financial impact on their own businesses.

And of course AWS outages have happened before.

Last month AWS suffered a large cloud outage which affected its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and S3 platforms. The problems affected those services in the North Virginia region.

Before that in 2013, Amazon’s US and Canadian shopping websites became briefly inaccessible, which the company confirmed was down to AWS problems in the US-EAST-1 region.

In October 2012 an AWS outage affected the availability of websites including Reddit, foursquare and Pinterest.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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