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?
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.