Amazon's Cloud Causes Holiday Outages for Netflix, Others

This was the third major outage for Amazon Web Services this year.
Posted December 26, 2012
By

Cynthia Harvey


On Christmas Eve, Amazon Web Services (AWS) delivered a very unwelcome gift for one of its largest customers: the Netflix streaming video service experienced an outage that was caused by problems with Amazon's cloud computing services. Service was restored by Christmas day, but experts wonder if high-profile outages like this one will damage Amazon's reputation.

Sam Forgione from Reuters reported, "An outage at one of Amazon's web service centers hit users of Netflix Inc's streaming video service on Christmas Eve and was not fully resolved until Christmas Day, a spokesman for the movie rental company said on Tuesday. The outage impacted Netflix subscribers across Canada, Latin America and the United States, and affected various devices that enable users to stream movies and television shows from home, Netflix spokesman Joris Evers said. Such devices range from gaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 to Blu-ray DVD players."

SlashGear's Shane McGlaun noted, "The problem wasn’t on Netflix’s end; rather the problem had to do with Amazon Web Services Elastic Load Balancing service in the US-East data center. The problem with Amazon service led to Netflix and streaming service Heroku being off-line Christmas Eve and the outage continued into the next day.... The outage reportedly began at 1:50 PM Pacific Standard Time. There are some scattered reports of outages for Amazon’s own video streaming services well. Netflix reported that streaming service was back up to normal streaming levels at 8:45 AM Pacific Standard Time on Christmas Day.

According to The Wall Street Journal's Greg Bensinger, "Other websites, such as software company Heroku Inc. and social media app Scope, also reported via Twitter service problems of their own that were traced to Amazon operations." He added, "The glitch was at least the third major AWS outage this year for Amazon. Service was knocked out for prominent websites Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare earlier this year frustrating customers and sending the companies scrambling for a fix."

ZDNet's David Chernicoff observed, "Netflix is one of Amazon’s most highly visible customers for their cloud backend services, is likely the one that generates the highest amount of traffic, and which has a very sophisticated Content Delivery Network. In short, it’s a very high-profile customer and this is the second time that an Amazon failure has brought down Netflix service delivery in the last six months....Though it’s timing is unlikely to make it noticed by business customers, the scale of the failure, in bringing down the Netflix service, needs to be taken into consideration when businesses begin to transition more real-time 24/7 business applications to cloud backends."




Tags: cloud computing, Amazon Web Services, outage


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