Amazon AWS S3 outage breaking a lot of things…

March 01, 2017


By Zach Dickson

Amazon’s S3 web-based storage service has been having some major issues today (1 March, 2017), and while this doesn’t affect the services Lucidity offers to our customers in any way, we are all watching on with interest to see how this impacts the overall cloud-service discussion. 

The AWS issue has been impacting a range of apps, devices and websites including cloud-based accounting service Xero. Over 862,000 Xero customers worldwide were unable to access the service due to the outage and with it being the first day of the month, I’m sure there were more than a few finance teams pulling their hair out this morning.  

Services do seem to be coming back online now, however even Amazon’s AWS dashboard was affected, with the dashboard not following the normal protocol of changing colour to highlight the severity of the outage (this issue has now been resolved at around 8:40am NZ time).

The AWS service health dashboard has indicated the outage is due to “high error rates with S3 in US-EAST-1”. Amazon’s S3 hosts a wide range of web related components, including images for many websites, app backends and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. 

Major websites such as Quora, Giphy and Business Insider have been affected, with reports also coming in of people unable to use their IoT devices such as TV remotes, connected lightbulbs and even garage doors not opening. The issue likely occurred at Amazon’s AWS Datacentre in Ashburn, Virginia, but with so many web services relying on AWS S3, the impact has been felt worldwide. 

As of 10:20 am this morning, AWS\ advised that “S3 object retrieval, listing and deletion are fully recovered now. We are still working to recover normal operations for adding new objects to S3.”

This outage does highlight some of the issues that cloud based services can run into if you have not incorporated failover plans into your deployment. It will be interesting to watch the fall out over the coming days, and the steps AWS take to ensure this doesn’t happen again. 

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