Amazon Experiences Second Cloud Outage Within One Week

Amazon Web Services suffered a major cloud outage for roughly one hour yesterday which ultimately affected large online services such as Vine, Instagram, Flipboard and AirBnB.

According to an official Amazon statement, “The root cause was a “grey” partial failure with a networking device that caused a portion of the AZ to experience packet loss. The network issue was resolved and most volumes, instances, and API calls returned to normal. The networking device was removed from service and we are performing a forensic investigation to understand how it failed. We are continuing to work on a small number of instances and volumes that require additional maintenance before they return to normal performance.” Aside from this first response, Amazon officials continue to decline commenting further.
Simply put, the outage was due to Elastic Block Store, also known as EBS, which was the cause of another major Amazon cloud outage back in 2011. EBS has been known to cause several issues, most recently being back in December 2012 who noted, “To maintain high uptime, we have stopped trusting EBS. In our admittedly anecdotal experience, EBS presented us with several major challenges: I/O rates on EBS volumes are poor, EBS fails at the region level, not on a per-volume basis, and the failure mode of EBS on Ubuntu is extremely severe. For these reasons, and our strong focus on uptime, we abandoned EBS entirely, starting about six months ago, at some considerable cost in operational complexity (mostly around how we do backups and restores). So far, it has been absolutely worth it in terms of observed external uptime.”
Even setting aside the EBS issue, it seems overall as if Amazon Web Services is having difficulty dealing with the current cloud server solution they use which depends on Bezos & Co’s cloud computing. Just last week users experienced a 25 minute outage in which Amazon has yet to complete the investigation and final comments.
Many people voiced their concerns and frustrations regarding the outage over popular social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook (who ironically own Vine and Instagram, respectively). Perhaps this recent outage will speed up the process in which these two social media giants move these services over to their own data networks.