It almost seems like the headline could have been “AWS Outage Cancels Christmas”. Underlining the pervasive reliance that so many businesses and services have on cloud computing resources like Amazon AWS, the AWS outage on December 7th, 2021 impacted all sorts of things from streaming services like Disney Plus and Amazon Prime, to games like Destiny 2 and League of Legends, to devices like McDonald’s kiosks, Ring doorbells and vacuum cleaners and even Amazon’s own website. The outage tracking website Downdetector.com showed more than 24,000 reported issues associated with the AWS outage.
Given AWS’s dominate position in the cloud market that’s not a huge surprise. According to the Synergy Research Group, Amazon’s market share of the worldwide cloud infrastructure market was about 32 percent in the first quarter of 2021. Any major AWS service disruption will have a huge global impact.
Amazon did not provide a great deal of information about the root cause of the outage. The service disruption began late Tuesday morning and it lasted through the afternoon. According to the AWS Service Health Dashboard:
[9:37 AM PST] We have identified the root cause of the issue causing service application programming interface (API) and console issues in the US-EAST-1 Region and are starting to see some signs of recovery.
[2:43 PM PST] We have mitigated the underlying issue that caused some network devices in the US-EAST-1 Region to be impaired. We are seeing improvement in availability across most AWS services. All services are now independently working through service-by-service recovery. We continue to work toward full recovery for all impacted AWS Services and API operations
[4:35 PM PST] With the network device issues resolved, we are now working towards recovery of any impaired services.
Luckily, Christmas has been restored. However, while that may be a bit tongue-in-cheek it really hits home how important cloud computing has become – not only to our businesses but also as a part of our daily lives. Many of our basic needs and entertainment depend on the cloud.
All the major cloud services are typically very reliable, this outage does show some of the drawbacks to using a centralized network infrastructure. While businesses do have some ability split their services between different cloud providers, that’s often too complicated to be practical. However, this latest outage at least shows the importance of making sure you can move your services to different cloud regions run by your cloud provider.