Amazon’s Cloud Services Suffer Third Outage This Month

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Amazon.com, Inc.’s (AMZN) cloud division Amazon Web Services (AWS) suffered its third major outage this month, disrupting operations of major software and apps. Most issues that brought down the service have been resolved as of 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Key Takeaway

  • Amazon’s cloud service, AWS, suffered its third major outage of the month this morning.
  • The outage, which was caused due to loss of power, disrupted operations at major companies, including messaging app Slack, gaming company Fortnite, and North America’s biggest crypto exchange by volume Coinbase.
  • Amazon is a leader in the cloud services industry.

AWS went down this morning due to a power outage at one of its data centers in Northern Virginia. “We can confirm a loss of power within a single data center within a single Availability Zone (USE1-AZ4) in the US-EAST-1 Region. This is affecting availability and connectivity to EC2 instances that are part of the affected data center within the affected Availability Zone,” the company wrote in an update on its site at 8:01 a.m. EST. Less than 20 minutes later, AWS wrote that it had “restored power to the majority of instances and networking devices within the affected data center” and was seeing “some early signs of recovery.”

According to posts on their respective websites, users of messaging app Slack, which is owned by Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM), were unable to upload files and edit messages, and project management platform Asana’s users were unable to access the platform during the outage. Other companies that were affected by the outage include GIF site Imgur and Epic Games. North America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global, Inc. (COIN), dating app Grindr, gaming company Fortnite, and delivery company Instacart were also among those whose regular operations took a hit.

Charts at Downdetector.com, a website that logs reports of cloud outage, show that AWS incident reports spiked just after 6:00 a.m. EST and peaked close to 8:30 a.m. EST. They dropped after Amazon isolated and began resolving the issue. 

“Connectivity and power to other data centers within the affected Availability Zone, or other Availability Zones within the US-EAST-1 Region are not affected by this issue, but we would recommend failing away from the affected Availability Zone (USE1-AZ4) if you are able to do so,” the company wrote in an update. “We continue to work to address the issue and restore power within the affected data center.”

A Month of Outages 

This morning’s outage was the third one at AWS this month. The first one occurred on Dec. 6 and brought down a large swathe of the economy, grounding logistics operations at retailers and causing postponement of exams during finals week at universities. The second outage happened less than a week later and hampered operations at streaming sites like Disney+, dating apps like Grindr, and Amazon’s own warehouse logistics. 

The increasing frequency of outages at Amazon’s cloud services might provide an opening to competitors. The Seattle-based company leads the cloud sweepstakes with an overall share of 32%. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) is second with a 21% cut of the cloud pie, and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) Google cloud is third with 8%.

In recent times, Amazon has seen its market share decline even as the overall market for cloud services has jumped. According to some analyses, however, the company’s declining share of the market has more to do with the lack of new clients for its services as opposed to the migration of existing customers toward competition. In the last quarter, Amazon reported cloud revenues of $16.1 billion during the third quarter of this year, a jump of 39% from the same time a year ago.

Source: Investopedia

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