Lights Out for Amazon Simple Storage Service

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Lights Out for Amazon Simple Storage Service

Update 1: It’s being reported that all of Amazon Web Services (AWS) is down.

Update 2: AWS appears to be back online as of 9:00AM CST. The outage lasted about 1-2 hours this morning.

Friday morning (February 15, 2008) Amazon Web Services experienced a system-wide outage of their Simple Storage Service (S3). This outage has affected thousands of websites and Web applications, including Twitter and Raven SEO Tools. Twitter relies on S3 to display their images. However, if you visited it this morning, instead of seeing avatars, you only saw text.

If you’re a user of Raven, and you were trying to view your SERP Tracker data, the only thing you would have seen is the “no data” message. That’s because we use S3 to store our SERP Tracker data.

This is the first major outage that Amazon S3 has experienced (that I’m aware of). It’s a little disconcerting, especially since so many websites now rely on it to function properly. I can only hope that this outage ends up being a rare and atypical occurrence.

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Tell us what you think

  • Blagovest

    There is a very important question you have to ask yourself before deciding whether to use S3: what are you really looking for – remote storage, content delivery, or both. These are crucial to distinguish.

    What I observe is that most people treat Amazon S3 as a content delivery service. While this is not inherently wrong, one has to notice that S3 was especially designed to be a STORAGE service. S3 does not claim to be a CDN.

    The point is, since terabyte hard drives are affordable nowadays and internet traffic grows steadily, the stress goes much more on content delivery and network infrastructure rather than on storage. If you are not concerned about using remote storage, there are much better services especially suited for content delivery.

    SteadyOffload.com provides an innovative, subtle and convenient way to offload static content. The whole mechanism there is quite different from Amazon S3. Instead of permanently uploading your files to a third-party host, their cachebot crawls your site and mirrors the content in a temporary cache on their servers. Content remains stored on your server while it is being delivered from the SteadyOffload cache. The URL of the cached object on their server is dynamically generated at page loading time, very scrambled and is changing often, so you don’t have to worry about hotlinking. This means that there is an almost non-existent chance that the cached content gets exposed outside of your web application.

    It’s definitely worth trying because it’s not a storage service like S3 but exactly a service for offloading static content.

    Watch that:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8193919167634099306 (the video shows integration with WordPress, but it is integrable with any other webpage)
    http://www.steadyoffload.com/
    http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Optimization/Offloading

    Cost of bandwidth comes under $0.2 per GB – affordable, efficient and convenient. Looks like a startup but lures me very much. Definitely simpler and safer than Amazon S3.

  • http://sitening.com/ Jon Henshaw

    Ben, I love what you’re doing with bigsight.org. Dan’s been showing me sneak peeks of your latest features. I can’t wait to see them go live! Oh, and thanks for the love on your home page ;)

  • http://bigsight.org/ben_sinclair Ben Sinclair

    Hi Jon, this is Ben from bigsight! I didn’t even notice the outage until I saw this blog entry. I use S3 for backups, and have an EC2 running for some testing. Luckily the EC2s didn’t reboot, which is always a pain.

    I found your entry from our new entity pages, which now feature user content: http://bigsight.org/city/nashville

  • http://www.focusfriends.net Ivo

    It’s not only S3 that got hit; all the Amazon services are dead, including EC2 and SQS:

    http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/thread.jspa?threadID=19714&tstart=0
    http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/thread.jspa?threadID=19715&tstart=0

    We experience the same issue:

    http://www.web20friends.net

    It happens to the best of us. And now we can see who relies on their backbone…

    -Ivo