AWS outage paralyses many digital services

Cloud Computing Technology

An Amazon Web Services region in the US was unable to provide web services for a bunch of customers, including Netflix, this week.

The AWS service health dashboard tells the technical story that, for a big chunk of the working day, anyone who was reliant on the US-EAST-1 AWS region for their cloudy business. ‘The root cause of this issue is an impairment of several network devices,’ said the bulletin, helpfully, before repeatedly chanting the inevitable mantra about doing everything it can to sort things out.

AWS doesn’t seem to have said much publicly outside of that but among the digital services affected by it were Netflix, Disney+, Ticketmaster, Robinhood and Coinbase, according to CNBC. On top of that it looks like a bunch of Amazon’s own services were affected, with warehouse workers and delivery drivers unable to access the information they need to do their jobs.

Outages happen, and AWS seems to do a pretty good job of keeping them to a minimum, but this incident serves as yet another reminder of how dependent the whole digital economy is on just a few public cloud hyperscalers. That genie is already out of the bottle, so it’s hard to know what to do about it, but perhaps if they were better regulated they would at least be forced to build more redundancy into their systems and offer more protection to the rest of the digital world.

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