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February 28, 2017updated 01 Mar 2017 9:49am

Sorry we’re late, AWS cloud disappeared – Top sites knocked offline in huge Amazon Web Services outage

CBR would have reported the AWS S3 outage sooner - but we were knocked offline too.

By Ellie Burns

The AWS cloud, specifically its S3 storage system, has been hit by an outage – news which would have been reported quicker if CBR hadn’t itself been knocked offline by the failure.

CBR was not alone, with hundreds of websites including Slack, Docker and Soundcloud knocked offline by the outage which hit Amazon’s storage system in Virginia.

While I was looking for answers from CBR’s IT team, others were turning to Twitter and other social media sites to ask where the AWS cloud had disappeared to.

Amazon was quick to reassure customers that they were “actively working to remediate errors”, later confirming the outage in a statement:

“We’re continuing to work to remediate the availability issues for Amazon S3 in US-East-1.”

AWS’ S3 storage system is Amazon’s largest service, used by more than half of its customers – over one million – for cloud storage. Experts estimate that three to four million pieces of data are stored on the system.


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Amazon has yet to actually confirm what has caused this downtime, but CBR was alerted by our provider Pantheon who said that it had “various systems affected by the ongoing amazon S3 outage.”

After some services returned, Pantheon was still “observing errors from AWS”, but noted that they were continuing to improve. At the time of writing, some sites are still reporting errors and downtime, with AWS taking to Twitter to provide updates of the ongoing situation.

READ MORE: Cloud wars: Oracle CEO labels AWS infrastructure ‘old’

Cloud outages are not an uncommon occurance, and when they hit, they hit hard. Last year Microsoft’s cloud service Azure was hit by a two hour long outage for some of its key services, while Google’s Apps for Work users in the UK and US were unable to use the service for over an hour in September.

AWS was not immune to outages in 2016 either, with AWS suffering from significant error rates which impacted Netflix, Tinder and Wink in September.

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