There are certain things everyone knows they need to get online. So long as someone has a modem, router, and a device that can connect to those things, accessing your favorite sites/apps is usually pretty easy. However, there’s another big factor that isn’t talked about as much. In order for websites to function, everything needs to be running smoothly on their end, too. It’s something easier said than done, and as it’s been proven repeatedly this month, things get messy when that doesn’t happen.
This point was reinforced once again on Wednesday, December 22. Taking a look at DownDetector.com, the website shows huge spikes in outage reports for many of the internet’s biggest names — Amazon Web Services being among them. AWS is the cloud computing platform that numerous companies rely on to power their websites, apps, and games. When AWS has problems, other people have problems. This is evident with outage reports for things like Slack, Epic Games Store, Honeywell, Life360, and the McDonalds app.
What Caused This Latest AWS Outage
So, what happened this time? Around 4:35 AM PST, AWS confirmed it was “investigating increased EC2 launch failures and networking connectivity issues” for one of its ‘availability zones.’ Then, at 5:01 AM PST, AWS announced it had lost power at one of its data centers. Losing power at a single data center may not sound like a big deal. As it was quickly proven, however, the exact opposite was true.
For folks keeping score at home, this marks the third major AWS outage just in December 2021. On December 7, “elevated error rates” took down sites like Amazon, Chime, Ring, Facebook, and Disney+. Just a few days later on December 10, another AWS slip-up caused prolonged issues for Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Ticketmaster.
Unfortunately, there’s not much anyone can do in situations like this. If AWS goes down, everyone has to sit around and wait for Amazon to investigate, see what’s going on, and get things back to normal. That may not sound like a great setup, but it’s how much of the internet operates today. Whether it be Amazon, Google, or another cloud computing company, everyone’s just hoping their tech keeps working the way it’s supposed to. When that inevitably stops, we end up with days like today.