Amazon.com Inc said automated processes in its cloud computing business caused Internet blackouts this week, affecting everything from Disney theme parks and Netflix videos to robot vacuums and Adele ticket sales.
In a statement released Friday, Amazon said the problem began on December 7 when an automated computer program — designed to make its network more reliable — unexpectedly crashed a “large number” of its systems. cause to behave. That, in turn, sparked a wave of activity across Amazon’s network, eventually blocking users from accessing some of its cloud services.
“Basically, a bad piece of code ran automatically and caused the snowball effect,” said Forrester analyst Brent Ellis. The outage continued “because their internal control and monitoring systems were taken offline due to the traffic storm that caused the original problem.”
Amazon explained the outage in a highly technical statement posted online. The issues began on December 7th at 10:30 a.m. New York time and went on for several hours before Amazon was able to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, social media was flooded with complaints from consumers that their smart home gadgets and other Internet-connected services had suddenly stopped working.
Some experts said the explanation doesn’t help users fully understand what went wrong.
“They don’t explain what this unexpected behavior was and they didn’t know what it was. So they were guessing when they were trying to fix it, that’s why it took so long,” said Claude of Duckbill Group Economist Corey Quinn said.
AWS is generally a reliable service. Amazon’s cloud division last suffered a major incident in 2017, when an employee accidentally shut down more servers while repairing a billing system. Still, the latest outage reminded the world how many products and services are centralized in communal data centers run by some of the major tech companies from Alphabet Inc. to Amazon, Microsoft Corp. and Google.
There is no easy solution to the problem. Some analysts believe that companies should duplicate their services across multiple cloud computing providers so that an accident does not take them out of service. Others say a “multi-cloud” strategy would be impractical and could leave businesses even more vulnerable as they would be exposed to outages, not just AWS, but everyone.
“We are aware that this incident has significantly affected many customers,” the company said in its jargon-laden statement. “We will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to further improve our availability.”