AWS outage cuts off Netflix, Medium, Reddit and others

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Problems with Amazon’s DynamoDB database caused the company’s AWS cloud service to go offline Sunday morning, leaving many Netflix, IMDB, Airbnb and Tinder customers unable to access the sites.

The problem started early Sunday morning when the AWS status page reported DynamoDB database issues at the company’s US-East data centre in Ashburn, Virginia - one of its oldest facilities. CloudWatch, a monitoring system for the application that runs on AWS and Cognito, a mobile data based service, also had problems alongside DynamoDB.

The issues continued until midday, Eastern Time, with the database service still showing increased error rates responding to Application Programming Interface (API) calls. This in turn prevented services relying on AWS to forward instructions to applications.

Amazon responded by throttling APIs in a bid to recover the service. Users complained of being unable to watch videos on Netflix, access home automation hubs or find a date.

Amazon said in statement: "Between 2:13 AM and 7:10 AM PDT on September 20, 2015, Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced significant error rates with read and write operations for the Amazon DynamoDB service in the US-East Region, which impacted some other AWS services in that region, and caused some AWS customers to experience elevated error rates."

This outage is one of the first in a long time for AWS. In 2013, the platform suffered a major outage at its Virginia datacentre causing increased error rates and latencies for the APIs for Elastic Block Storage and increased error rates for EBS-backed instance launches. In 2012, Netflix and others went offline due to an AWS outage at the same datacentre.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.