On February 28th 2017, Amazon Web Services (AWS) went offline. AWS, owned by Amazon.com Inc., is America’s largest cloud-computing service. S3 is the main AWS service provider affected by the outage. AWS S3 stores images, website domains, and other vital information that websites and applications use to function. As of the publishing of this article, the AWS system has been experiencing difficulties for around three hours.
The outage has affected millions of consumers and businesses. Business Insider and Quora were both affected by the outage. The image and file sharing sites Giphy and Slack experienced difficulties because of the outage. Sailthru, a website that provides newsletters, also suffered due to its reliance on S3.
Small businesses took a hit from the outage as well. One small business, Lewis Bamboo, a family owned bamboo nursery located in North Alabama. When Daniel Mullaly, the company’s Chief Technology Officer was asked about the S3 outage, he said that “As our business is in bamboo plants, pictures are a very important part of selling our product online. We use Amazon S3 to store and distribute our website images. When Amazon’s servers went down, so did the majority of our website.”
The websites and apps that rely on AWS have seen varying issues. Some websites and devices are completely broken whereas some are only experiencing partial failures. Some web and mobile application are having fewer issues due to that fact that AWS was only part of their stack, relying on different services for basic functions from databases to image caching.
Forrester Cloud Analyst) Dave Bartoletti stated that “This is a pretty big outage,” and “AWS had not had a lot of outages and when they happen, they’re famous. People still talk about the one in September of 2015 that lasted five hours.” The first outage struck at roughly 12:45PM ET in the AWS S3 storage system. According to Bartoletti S3 has “north of 3 to 4 trillion pieces of data stored in it.”
Amazon released a statement on the outage.