Amazon Web Services suffered a 20-hour outage over Christmas

After a rather bumpy 2012 with some heavy outages the cloud infrastructure of the Amazon Web Services again experienced some problems over Christmas. During a 20 hour outage several big customers were affected, including Netflix and Heroku. This time the main problem was Amazons Elastic Load Balancer (ELB).

Region US-East-1 is a very big problem

This outage is the last out of a series of catastrophic failure in Amazon’s US-East Region-1. It is the oldest and most popular region in Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure. This new outage precisely in US-East-1 raises new questions about the stability of this region and what Amazon has actually learned and actually improved from the past outages. Amazon customer awe.sm had recently expressed criticism of the Amazon cloud and especially on Amazon EBS (Amazon Elastic Block Store) and the services that depend on it.

Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB)

Besides the Amazon Elastic Beanstalk API the Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) was mainly affected by the outage. Amazon ELB belongs to one of the important services if you try to build a scalable and highly available infrastructure in the Amazon cloud. With ELB users can move loads and capacities between different availability zones (Amazon independent data centers), to ensure availability when it comes to problems in one data center.

Nevertheless: both Amazon Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon ELB rely on Amazon EBS, which is known as the „error prone-backbone of the Amazon Web Services„.

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About the Author

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies. Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as Silicon.de and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of CloudUser.de and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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