So a massive, deadly storm rips through Northern Virginia, Washing D.C., and Maryland, knocking out power for millions of people, but what is everyone upset about? The couldn’t watch some Netflix movies or post their dinner picture to Instagram on Friday night. At least that seems to be the common theme in various tweets and blog posts that I’ve read over the weekend.
Why is everyone so upset? Most of you have probably never heard of AWS. Services like Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram are all powered by AWS servers and were down for several hours Friday night into Saturday morning because of issues in Amazon’s Norther-Virginia data center, which was affected by the storm.
Amazon provides multiple data centers throughout the world for AWS customers. They advise their customers to load their services into multiple data centers specifically so that they are available when one data center is offline – and many do this, including the aforementioned services – but the services still had issues on Friday night because of a failure in Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service. The ELB service is the one that makes spreading a web site over multiple data centers possible – and it failed, this time.
This was a fluke. Could Amazon have done more to ensure that it didn’t happen? Maybe. Was it a
major inconvenience for people who wanted to watch movies and post photos? Sure. Do accidents happen no matter how careful we are? Absolutely. Is it the end of the world, cloud computing, or Amazon? Heck no.
Put it into perspective people. There are still millions of people without power this morning (Monday) – the storm ripped through the area on Friday night. Many will probably be without power all week.
Sorry you couldn’t watch your movies for an evening.