Amazon blocks data centres after Data Outage: businesses unable to access services

Amazon, according to some, appears to be denying access to its cloud-based business services – and that could seriously hamper businesses if true Amazon is taking down data centres and leaving behind isolated pockets…

Amazon blocks data centres after Data Outage: businesses unable to access services

Amazon, according to some, appears to be denying access to its cloud-based business services – and that could seriously hamper businesses if true

Amazon is taking down data centres and leaving behind isolated pockets of internet dead zones in the US and Europe, leaving businesses unable to access Amazon Web Services – an essential technology service in many instances.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is used by hundreds of thousands of businesses to build and manage their websites, so any outage can be significantly damaging. The state of play on the outage itself remains unclear, although major tech companies have weighed in on the huge scope of the problem.

Issues with Amazon Web Services have affected operations at major companies like General Motors, Disney, Tesla, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Angie’s List, Ancestry.com, Spotify, Spotify Premium, Shopify, and Uber, according to multiple reports. The outage also could affect overseas companies such as Ticketmaster, Airbnb, and Etsy.

However, only about 11% of AWS customers on its servers have notified Amazon that they are not able to access services, according to Ars Technica.

It’s unclear what is causing the issues, and Amazon has not provided a fix or an update, though it has published a message on its AWS Help page that reads: “We’re aware that some customers are experiencing problems connecting to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).”

“The problem has surfaced during a significant performance upgrade for AWS. On our recovery effort, some customers may experience difficulty returning to their previous state as the protocol for restoring ‘on-demand’ functions is in effect in this instance. We’re actively adjusting our restoration schedules to meet customers’ needs. You may also notice that we are not currently providing any information, instructions, or guidance on your particular case.”

Amazon has indicated that it expects to provide further guidance later on Monday. It’s unclear how long the issues will persist, or what it’s seeing in terms of overall data center traffic. As of press time, Amazon Web Services still looks like it will be in technical shutdown for the rest of the day and into Tuesday.

Inventory cloud broker White Star Commerce had its EBS database inaccessible from the AWS network since 3.41pm on Monday, and has been unable to access it since. In a statement sent to Guardian Australia on Monday, it said: “If customers suffer from any major downtime, the White Star business’ service administrators are looking into contractual reliefs as they usually take one or two weeks to resolve.”

An e-commerce payment gateway called Vend, owned by Shopify, also appears to be experiencing outages from Amazon’s EBS storage cloud storage platforms. To open those clouds on AWS, one needs to say “Apply to initiate install,” but Vend says there is no access to these services, and that it is “actively exploring where we can redirect transactions to.”

The failure comes just weeks after the company’s first public flotation on Wall Street, the morning of 1 May 2017.

The company’s Chief Executive and Chairman, Jeff Bezos, is famously interested in consumer and enterprise technology, and a low-key “datacenter guy”, and frequently speaks to technology press. On 1 May, the month he went public, he published a rather straightforward letter to shareholders, in which he talked about the company’s strategy, its strategy going forward, and more generally, how it was making more money for shareholders.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s rivals are looking to offer a similarly “cloud services” as Amazon. This past Sunday, Amazon’s main rival in the UK, Amazon Web Services, announced its newest service, AWS Container Service. It allows companies to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters and move data between them.

For other large US-based technology companies, including Apple, LinkedIn, and Salesforce, AWS is a critical part of their growing cloud strategy. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft Azure was able to take advantage of the outage to attract more customers, and has been signed up by Pinterest.

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