‘Fail safe’ servers crashed after networking glitch
A major outage at Amazon’s servers has affected the services of numerous online companies that used Amazon’s cloud computing services, known as EC2.
Amazon engineers had to struggle for over 24 hours to restore services, but major websites such as news-sharing site Reddit were still experiencing problems on Friday and Saturday.
Amazon had said on Saturday that though engineers were making progress, it was at a slower rate than expected. Reddit appeared to be functioning again.
The company said it was successful in removing some obstructions to connections from its Virginia center, but an unknown problem was holding up restoring all remaining connections.
Amazon has five regional data centres across the world — two in the US, one in Ireland, and two in Asia.
The Amazon outages began on Thursday morning. The company said that an early-morning "networking event" caused a cascade of problems. It said that a glitch at its East Coast facility made its servers automatically create back-ups of themselves which eventually led to crashes in that zone.
Almost immediately numerous sites, including Reddit, Four Square, and Hootsuite, went down.
Amazon has not revealed how many companies use its cloud computing services or how many were affected by the outage.
The company’s services in Northern California are operating normally.
Cloud computing has been claimed as the next revolution in IT. It is being promoted by companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft as a safe and cost effective way for companies and individuals to store photos, music and data on remote computers accessible anywhere in the world rather than spend on personal servers and hard disks.
Amazon EC2 was believed to be impossible to crash, after hacktivist group Anonymous failed to take it down in December.