Amazon WebService Outage

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to fix a typo. The original text stated that there was a rise in errors for Amazon S2 requests. The corrected text states that it was Amazon S3. 

This morning, Amazon Web Services (AWS) underwent a major cloud outage, causing both its Elastic Compute Cloud and Simple Storage Service solutions to receive many request errors in the United States. AWS is a cloud computing solutions provider ran by Amazon, a company most known for its large online retail network

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08bits-amazon-tmagArticleAmazon began investigating a rise in errors for requests made to Amazon S3 in the US-STANDARD region at 12:36 AM PDT. Just a few minutes after this investigation began, the company reported even more errors for the EC2 APIs and launch failures for EC2 instances in Amazon’s US-EAST-1 region. Additionally, AWS experienced heightened latencies in its SendEmail, SendRawEmail, and Send SMTPEmail APIs in the US-EAST-1 region.

Two AWS customers, Heroku and GitHub, have confirmed that they have experienced issues due to the AWS outage. Heroku reported that customers could not push changes to their apps, while GitHub users saw increased error rates on repository release downloads and issue image uploads.

Amazon reported at 1:52 AM PDT that:

“We are actively working on the recovery process, focusing on multiple steps in parallel. While we are in recovery, customers will continue to see elevated error rate and latencies.”

Finally, at 3:46 AM PDT, Amazon notified customers that its AWS errors had been corrected and services had returned to normal operations.

AWS Outage Highlights Need for Decentralized Alternatives

The root of the problem with this morning’s outage lies in the fact that AWS is a centralized cloud computing service, meaning it has a central point of failure. Problems in one area of AWS’ services could lead to problems for the rest of its customers, as Amazon’s servers and support services are all centralized. Using some kind of decentralized network — such as a blockchain-based alternative — would virtually eliminate the possibility of major service outages like the one experienced by AWS customers this morning. With a blockchain alternative to centralized cloud computing, one node may go down, but there would be countless others to pick up the slack, each one capable of recalling data from the blockchain. With this method of cloud computing, chances that users would experience any significant amount of cloud downtime are extremely low.

An example of  decentralized, blockchain-based cloud computing is Storj, a decentralized cloud storage service. Storj is secured by a peer-to-peer network powered by the blockchain, which ensures that stored data is never lost and is always available. Certainly, as cloud computing becomes more of a necessity in our modern world, additional problems caused by centralized services will lead people to migrate towards decentralized alternatives similar to Storj.

Do you think a decentralized cloud computing solution would prevent outages like the one AWS experienced? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources: InformationAge, TechWeek Europe

Images courtesy of Logi Analytics, The New York Times

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