Amazon EC2 outage downs Reddit, Quora

SCVNGR and other sites took to Twitter after a rare and major outage of Amazon's cloud-based EC2 Web service.SCVNGR and other sites took to Twitter after a rare and major outage of Amazon's cloud-based Web service. By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A rare and major outage of Amazon's cloud-based Web service on Thursday took down a plethora of other online sites, including Reddit, HootSuite, Foursquare and Quora.

The outages began Thursday morning just before 5 a.m. ET and were still ongoing more than 24 hours later. In a series of running updates on its Web services "Health Dashboard," Amazon described its efforts to recover from the cascade of problems kicked off by an early-morning "networking event."

Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) hosts many major websites on its web servers through a service called EC2. The "elastic" infrastructure model is designed to scale up automatically to handle giant traffic spikes -- the kind Amazon gets every year during its December e-commerce rush.

Thursday's crash happened at Amazon's northern Virginia data center, one of five global sites that underpin EC2. In its status log, Amazon said that the networking glitch caused many of its storage volumes to create new backups of themselves. That filled up Amazon's available storage capacity and kicked off a series of connectivity problems.

By late Thursday, Amazon had most of its system running normally, but lingering connectivity problems remained.

"It's taking us longer than we anticipated to add capacity to this fleet," Amazon said around 2 a.m. ET Friday. "But, we can assure you that the team is working this hard and will do so as long as it takes to get this resolved."

Thousands of customers hitch a ride on Amazon's cloud, renting space on its servers. Some of them went down Thursday in the wake of Amazon's outage.

Who was crashed: On Thursday, Q&A site Quora posted on its homepage: "We'll be back shortly, we hope. Sorry - it sucks for us too. We'd point fingers, but we wouldn't be where we are today without EC2." The site was back up and running by early Friday.

News aggregator Reddit had resumed functionality by midday Thursday, but it still noted on its homepage that "Amazon is experiencing a degradation...We are still waiting on them to get to our volumes."

Foursquare suffered some glitches earlier in the day, but its site seemed to be functioning normally by early Thursday afternoon.

Another location-based service, SCVNGR, tweeted: "The sky is falling! Amazon's cloud seems to be down (raining?) so we're experiencing some issues too. Be back soon!"

Popular Twitter client HootSuite posted its avian-inspired "homepage down" message: "Owls need a break sometimes too. We'll be back in action shortly -- in the meantime go outside and flap your arms around, you may find that flying ain't very easy."

Jason Glassberg, co-founder of security outfit Casaba LLC, called the issue "a big ol' black eye" for Amazon.

"Reliability is probably the No. 1 concern with cloud services," he said. "Amazon has worked long and hard to convince folks that their services were robust. This does not help the cause."  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,827.75 12.81 0.07%
Nasdaq 4,787.32 29.07 0.61%
S&P 500 2,072.83 5.80 0.28%
Treasuries 2.23 -0.03 -1.15%
Data as of 5:58pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Kinder Morgan Inc 42.32 1.57 3.85%
Apple Inc 119.00 1.40 1.19%
Facebook Inc 77.62 1.99 2.63%
Pfizer Inc 31.10 0.63 2.07%
Bank of America Corp... 17.11 0.01 0.06%
Data as of 4:04pm ET

Sections

Code.org's new tutorial teaches kids to write computer code to get Disney's Elsa and Anna to ice skate around the computer screen. More

Warren called it "hypocritical" for the White House to oppose corporate inversions but nominate a person who has worked in this area. More

Code.org's new tutorial teaches kids to write computer code to get Disney's Elsa and Anna to ice skate around the computer screen. More

Natalie's Cakes and More has raised $84,000 through GoFundMe after protests trash store. More

Retailers are promising big deals this Black Friday, but are the savings actually worth the shopping mayhem? Test your deal-sniffing skills. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.