Amazon Explains Their Public Cloud Failure – Outage Causes Outrage

According to the Wall Street Journal late today, Amazon has come clean with a response to their severe outage of the AWS public cloud infrastructure fail that crippled and took out Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and other top Internet sites that relied on Amazon for critical infrastructure.

Amazon.com had a fail over the weekend that I wrote about in my Play by Play summary of the big cloud failure.   Amazon and Netflix were pissed and even called Wired senior editor Robert McMillian @bobmcmillian, a troll when asking questions about the failure for his story on Wired.  Finally Amazon decided today Monday to tell the world of what the real story was.

As Forbes reports “Amazon’s Cloud service is having a bad a couple weeks. For the second time in as many weeks Amazon’s East Coast cloud crashed during a severe storm that left 1.3 million in the Washington D.C. area without power. The outage brought down numerous high profile web sites hosted on Amazon including Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and Heroku.  Making things worse was the fact that other cloud services hosted in the area experienced no downtime.”

Amazon has been the most successful cloud computing platform in getting startups up and running from prototype to full scale.  Many examples are out there including Neflix, Pinterest Zynga, Instagram just to name a few of the top names.

This is a case study in disaster recovery or disaster avoidance.

According to the WSJ Amazon came clean:

In a statement Monday, the Seattle company said thunderstorms affected several of its datacenters on the East Coast on Friday night. But while “several of our datacenters had their utility power impacted,” Amazon said “in only one of them did the redundant power not operate correctly.” The power outage “ended up impacting a single digit percentage” of customers, Amazon said in the statement.

Amazon added that it restored service to most of its customers on Friday night, with the remainder restored on Saturday.

Monday’s statement makes good on Amazon’s promise over the weekend to give more details about the incident. On Saturday, an Amazon spokeswoman said of the power outage that “we have restored service to most of our impacted customers and continue to work to restore service for our remaining impacted customers. We will share more details on this event in the coming days.”

Amazon runs servers managing the Web operations of other companies, which is known as cloud computing. Netflix, Instagram and content sharing site Pinterestreported outages over the weekend.

Cloud computing is a growing business for Amazon, which has invested heavily in data centers and other infrastructure in order to offer affordable storage space for companies looking to outsource some of their infrastructure.

Google Inc. recently unveiled its own cloud computing service aimed at providing cheap computing power to a wide range of businesses.

About John Furrier

John Furrier is founder, co-CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of SiliconANGLE, a new media company covering the intersection of computer science and social science. Furrier is also the co-founder and CEO of CrowdChat a social media platform for large-scale group conversations over hashtags. In addition to SiliconANGLE John runs Broadband Developments a private incubator and investment firm for creating new startups. Furrier lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and four children.