News: Amazon server outage knocks down hundreds of sites, company blames an 'as of yet unknown source'

Technology

Amazon server outage knocks down hundreds of sites, company blames an 'as of yet unknown source'

Too many services depending on a single point of access? Industry insiders say Amazon Web Services may have gotten too big for anyone's good.
Amazon server outage knocks down hundreds of sites, company blames an 'as of yet unknown source'

A massive outage in e-commerce giant Amazon’s cloud-service network on Tuesday temporarily knocked out streaming platforms Netflix and Disney+, Robinhood, a wide range of apps, and Amazon's own e-commerce website, putting a halt to consumers' holiday shopping ahead of Christmas.

Besides the Amazon site, several more of the tech giant's own services including Prime Video and other applications that use Amazon Web Services (AWS) were down for thousands of users in the United States. Amazon's Ring security cameras, mobile banking app Chime, and robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot were just a few of those affected.

Outage tracking website Downdetector.com showed more than 24,000 incidents of people reporting issues with Amazon, with possibly many more individual users affected.

Amazon said the outage was likely due to issues related to application programming interface (API), which is a set of protocols for building and integrating application software.

"We are experiencing API and console issues in the US-EAST-1 Region," Amazon said in a report on its service health dashboard, adding that it has identified the cause and was working to resolve the issue.

As per a Reuters report Amazon internally blames an 'as of yet unknown source' for the AWS outage, pinpointing network traffic congestion across multiple devices in the eastern US.

American technologist Carl Malamud said that the Internet was originally meant to be resilient against disasters through decentralisation, but the AWS point of failure shows how it has deviated from that vision. He told AP that “When we put everything in one place, be it Amazon's cloud or Facebook's monolith, we're violating that fundamental principle...We saw that when Facebook became the instrument of a massive disinformation campaign, we just saw that today with the Amazon failure."

In the past 12 months, users have experienced 27 outages on Amazon, according to web tool reviewing website ToolTester.

In July, Amazon experienced a disruption in its online stores service, which lasted for nearly two hours and affected more than 38,000 users.

In June, websites including Reddit, Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times were hit by a widespread hour-long outage linked to U.S.-based content delivery network provider Fastly Inc., a smaller rival of AWS.

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Topics: Technology

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