May 19, 2024

Bits: Amazon Cloud Failure Takes Down Web Sites

A major, widespread failure in Amazon’s Web services business took down many Web sites Thursday.

The problems, which began early Thursday morning and had not been completely repaired by late afternoon, affected many Web sites including Quora, Reddit, GroupMe, Scvngr and HootSuite, which all posted messages to their visitors about the issue.

The Web companies use Amazon’s cloud-based Web services to host Web sites, applications, files and other resources. Amazon’s customers range from start-ups like Foursquare to big companies like Pfizer and Nasdaq.

Amazon lets these companies rent space on its servers and take advantage of its big data centers and computing power. But this means that when Amazon’s servers fail, the companies have little control over the situation, highlighting the risks of relying on so-called cloud computing.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment, but the company is updating the status of its Web services and confirmed the service disruptions. It said it did not know when the services would be restored.

“Our high-level ballpark right now is that the E.T.A. is a few hours,” Amazon wrote at 2:09 p.m. Eastern time. “We can assure you that all hands are on deck to recover as quickly as possible. We will update the community as we have more information.”

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