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The Way Amazon Handled Its AWS System Outage: 'Bad Business'

The Way Amazon Handled Its AWS System Outage: 'Bad Business'

Amazon Web Services, run by, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) experienced one of the longest outages in recent memory Tuesday.

By 4 p.m. ET, the system issues had persisted for at least several hours. 

Big and small businesses, individual users and developers alike were updated via Amazon's AWS status page.

Just after 3 p.m., the status page showed, "We continue to experience high error rates with S3 in US-EAST-1, which is impacting various AWS services. We are working hard at repairing S3, believe we understand root cause, and are working on implementing what we believe will remediate the issue."

As any business that uses hosting and/or cloud services for its applications knows, outages like the one experienced by AWS can be extremely costly.

For just a little perspective on some of that cost, the Benzinga Newsdesk asked the highest-intensity cloud users we could find: our developers.

What kind of precedent do we have for this outage?

Benzinga Developers: With Amazon? Unprecedented. We've never seen an outage like this. The most we've seen is probably a half hour, and even that is very rare.

What does this mean for businesses using cloud-based services?

Developers: This is a huge cost in productivity for engineers. The tools we need -- like Slack, GitHub, DockerHub, Trello -- are down. We have developers in other countries... we can't get a hold of them except by email.

The real question we need to get answered tonight is where did this data go? Our buckets are currently showing that they're empty. Data might have been lost in this issue. If data is missing from this outage, Amazon could be in a world of pain.

How did Amazon handle this outage?

Developers: Awfully. Disgracefully. We can say the "L" word: lied. That system status page was not updated until long after the downtime started. The checkboxes weren't changed from green to red. That's the big problem here. It's a transparency issue.

Systems go down -- it happens. But a lack of transparency on those issues is inexcusable. It's bad business. We're already thinking about what services we can move over [away from AWS].

Either Amazon failed to update their system status page, or, if what the status page revealed about that page itself needing to be repaired, it means the system which needs to be tracked is itself powered by the system it is designed to track.

What are some competing services you guys are already thinking about switching to?

Developers: Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google has a competing service which is compatible with S3. Microsoft Corporation's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure.


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