Major AWS outage knocks a host of services offline

A screenshot on an angle of an AWS S3 web page
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

An outage at an Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centre has knocked offline a number of major services.

Among the affected services are cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, payment platforms Venmo and CashApp, streaming services including Disney+, Netflix, and Epic Games, dating app Tinder, investment service Robinhood, as well as the McDonald’s app.

Amazon products such as its Echo Dot AI voice assistant, Ring security camera, Kindle ebooks, and music streaming service Amazon Music.

The outage, which began at around 3:20pm GMT, has been attributed to application programming interface (API) and console issues with an AWS data centre in North Virginia known as US-EAST-1.

At 4:26pm GMT, AWS acknowledged the issues on its status page, adding that it had identified the root cause of the issue and is “actively working towards recovery”.

The tech giant’s Support team has also advised customers to attempt to switch access to the US-WEST-2 console, which is based in Northern California:

The extent of the outage can be attributed to AWS popularity – as the largest cloud infrastructure vendor in the world, AWS controls 32% of the global market as of the third quarter of 2021. In comparison, rivals Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud control a 21% and 8% market share, respectively.


The secure cloud configuration imperative

The central role of cloud security posture management


US-EAST-1 had previously been the culprit of other significant AWS outages. On 28 February 2017, it took down a number of popular websites and applications, including Slack, Trello, Netflix, Reddit, Quora, and others. Caused by a mistyped command, the issue lasted more than two hours.

On 25 November 2020, the Northern Virginia data centre caused an even longer outage, knocking offline a number of services, such as 1Password, Acorns, Adobe Spark, Anchor, Autodesk, Capital Gazette, Coinbase, DataCamp, Getaround, Glassdoor, Flickr, iRobot, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pocket, RadioLab, Roku, RSS Podcasting, Tampa Bay Times, Vonage, The Washington Post, and WNYC.

The issue was attributed to the data centre’s servers “exceeding the maximum number of threads allowed by an operating system configuration”.

So far, AWS hasn’t announced the cause of today’s outage, which is still ongoing at the time of writing.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.