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AWS outage drops huge portion of The Web

A prolonged outage of Amazon Web Services yesterday, which took down a large chunk of the Internet, showed the ugly side of not using a multi-cloud strategy.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become the backbone of the world’s biggest websites and apps. Now, as if one flipped a light switch, several websites have gone down in one of the biggest outages of the year.

The issue stemmed from AWS Kinesis, a micro-service which streams media like video, photos, and audio to users. Those affected by the outage include video streaming service Roku, photo-sharing service Flickr, content creation platform Adobe Spark, and Spotify-owned podcast service Anchor.

“We continue to work towards recovery of the issue affecting the Kinesis Data Streams API in the US-EAST-1 Region,” Amazon said on their dashboard, which also went down soon after posting. “For Kinesis Data Streams, the issue is affecting the subsystem that is responsible for handling incoming requests. The team has identified the root cause and is working on resolving the issue affecting this subsystem.”

Other AWS customers which use a multi-cloud setup, like Netflix and Spotify, remained largely unaffected by the outage.

Smaller businesses were also affected, showing the significance of using solutions like VMware and Nutanix for load balancing between clouds when there’s downtime.

The service was down from around midday to 19:30 EST, where Amazon said “the service was observing steady signs of recovery”.

The outage underlines the importance of not putting all of one’s cloud eggs in one availability region basket.

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