Why does everything fall apart when Amazon’s servers go down?

  • Amazon’s web hosting affiliate, Amazon Web Services, experienced major issues this week.
  • The outage had widespread ripple effects across a variety of Amazon-hosted services, from Netflix to Tinder.
  • It was the latest example of how the modern internet depends on a single company: Amazon.

Amazon’s web hosting subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, suffered a major outage on Tuesday morning.

For some people, the failure of Alexa devices was the red flag. For others, it was their Ring doorbell not working, or their inability to charge.



For thousands of Amazon warehouse workers, it was obvious when they were forced to stop working.

Like the last time it happened just over a year ago, dozens of services have been shut down as a result of the Amazon outage. Beyond Amazon’s own products like Alexa and Ring, millions of people, businesses and government agencies depend on Amazon’s widely used web hosting and cloud infrastructure.

Netflix, for example, uses AWS “for almost all of its compute and storage needs, including databases, analytics, recommendation engines, video transcoding, etc.,” according to Amazon.

But the services that Amazon’s AWS customers each use vary widely, from remote database software used for business tracking to remote storage for files and more.

These customers include, but are not limited to, Netflix, Tinder, Nintendo, McDonald’s, Sweetgreen, Disney +, and Roku, all of which experienced issues on Tuesday. Amazon’s e-commerce site was down for some and its delivery drivers were unable to route deliveries.

Amazon called it “an AWS service event that affected Amazon Operations and other customers,” in a statement to Insider.

It was, in short, a total mess – the result of a surprisingly large group of large companies relying entirely on Amazon for basic functionality.

While Amazon is best known for being the primary storefront for the internet, the company’s web services arm is a monster in its own right. Like most of Amazon’s businesses, AWS is the largest player in the cloud services market in the United States. It continues to beat competition from Microsoft and Google, among others, and generates more than $ 40 billion in annual revenue for the company.

The division is so important to Amazon that its former executive, Andy Jassy, ​​has been chosen to succeed longtime co-founder and CEO Jeff Bezos this year.

A critical part of why AWS has been so successful, and why so many businesses depend on it, is that Amazon was one of the first companies to invest in cloud computing services.

For companies like Netflix, AWS may have been the only viable option when cloud services were required over a decade ago.

Although Amazon has a variety of different server clusters across the United States, Tuesday’s outage was data center specific – it affected the “eastern region of the United States,” said Amazon, which is located in Virginia, and Americans across the country were impacted.

On Tuesday evening, Amazon said it had “solved the problem” and services were back to normal, at least until next time.

Do you have any advice? Contact senior Insider correspondent Ben Gilbert by email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We may keep the sources anonymous. Use an unprofessional device to reach out. RP pitches by email only, please.

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