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Amazon datacentre glitch hits top web services

Warwick Ashford

A hardware failure at an Amazon datacentre has downed several top web services, raising renewed concerns about the reliability of cloud-based infrastructure.

Instagram, Netflix, Twitter's Vine video-sharing application and holiday site Airbnb were among the services that were slow or inaccessible at the weekend because they all rely on Amazon Web Services.

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The fault was traced to a datacentre in northern Virginia that was struggling to keep up with demand, according to the BBC.

Other services hit by the fault included cloud-based software firm Heroku and web automation service IFTTT.

After the problems were resolved, Amazon said the interruptions to service was caused by the "partial failure of a networking device" but gave no further details.

The fault was linked to a network-attached block level storage service called Elastic Block Store (EBS) that is used for applications that need a database, file system or access to raw block level storage, according to the Register.

The weekend interruptions came less than a week after Amazon's North American web stores went offline for about 30 minutes, also due to problems in the company’s northern Virginia datacentre.

It followed a similar disruption on Google that lasted four minutes and reportedly caused a 40% drop in global internet traffic.

The service interruptions have highlighted the vulnerability of cloud-based services, showing that glitches at single datacentre can cause widespread disruptions.


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