Cloud

Amazon's S3 storage service suffers downtime

Hot on the heels of the latest outage over at RIM's North America NOC came news of Amazon's S3 cloud computing service experiencing some hiccups for several hours on Friday morning, February 15. The issue was apparently resolved by around noon (EST) on the same day.

Hot on the heels of the latest outage over at RIM's North America NOC came news of Amazon's S3 cloud computing service experiencing some hiccups for several hours on Friday morning, February 15. The issue was apparently resolved by around noon (EST) on the same day.

A number of startups that use S3 were affected, such as the messaging service Twitter. In fact, The New York Times, which uses S3 to store and deliver articles from its historical archives, experienced some downtime in sections of that service. So far, over 330,000 developers have registered to use Amazon Web Services.

The official word from Amazon, from the New York Times:

“For one of our services, the Amazon Simple Storage Service, one of our three geographic locations was unreachable for approximately two hours and was back to operating at over 99% of normal performance before 7 a.m. pacific standard time. We’ve been operating this service for two years and we’re proud of our uptime track record. Any amount of downtime is unacceptable and we won’t be satisfied until it’s perfect. We’ve been communicating with our customers all morning via our support forums and will be providing additional information as soon as we have it.”

Amazon's Simple Storage Service is two years old, and it is one of several "cloud computing" offerings from Amazon.

Many irate users can be found in Amazon's Web developer forum grousing over the downtime.

However, not everyone is critical. The Register reported on a poster who wrote, "This is the first outage I have experienced since I joined the service nearly a year ago. Yes it sucks, yes I hope they get it fixed very soon... but, the sky is not in fact falling at the moment."

In his blog, Guardian's Jack Schofield probably summed up the sentiments of many when he wrote:

Amazon Web Services is nothing like that reliable: it seems it only aspires to 99.9% availability, which would have been unacceptable in an antique mainframe, let alone a specialised fault-tolerant server. If people really want "five nines" availability, they'll have to pay for it, and at the moment it doesn't come at anything like Amazon's prices.

Still, there is no doubt that confidence is definitely shaken all around. Would you still consider making use of Amazon's S3 or similar hosted computing offerings?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

4 comments
rosscooney
rosscooney

We use cloud computing providers (such as AWS) to provide a commercial service to our customers. While downtime is unacceptable in any market, and especially not in a commoditized market where customers demand a solid user experience. I wrote a quick blog post on how we use multiple providers to ensure that our service is rock solid: http://www.spoutingshite.com/2009/11/03/downtime-is-unacceptable/

sireofstorms
sireofstorms

Editor Thompson, You did Mr. Schofield an injustice by not including an earlier paragraph he wrote. Your editing made him look as though he is "down" on Amazon's S3 service more than he really is. In fact, he also said this: "Cloud computing does not need to be 99.999% reliable to get adopted by Web 2.0 companies. It makes sense to adopt it because it's cheap and because you don't need much technical competence to do it. It therefore meets Web 2.0 needs very nicely." Context! Context! Context! We have plenty of hype-meisters out here already, TechRepublic does not need to foster more Chicken-Little-ism. There may be many who are focusing on the glass 0.1% empty, but the thinkers understand the claim and the purpose behind Adobe S3 and will not be completely aghast when it does not fill a purpose for which it is not designed.

paulmah
paulmah

Still, there is no doubt that confidence is definitely shaken all around. Would you still consider making use of Amazon?s S3 or similar hosted computing offerings?

Navy Moose
Navy Moose

I use Amazon S3 to backup all the photos in my database, in addition to other necessary files. The price is right, and the amount of space is essentially unlimited. Navy Moose

Editor's Picks