Search
  • Tausif Mulla

The Day When Amazon's Robots Had a Monday Meltdown (sort of)

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing branch, experienced a major outage that left thousands of websites and apps down for hours. Amazon’s robots were the ones to blame as they had forgotten to wake up from their weekend slumber.


Amazon has been known for its excellent service since it was created by Jeff Bezos in 1994, but on December 7, it proved otherwise as Amazon's servers went offline affecting businesses across the globe.


Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash

Imagine this

Imagine if all of your smart devices decide to take a vacation at the same time. You are at home; you say, "Hey Alexa," and you receive no reply.


On 7th December, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had an outage across many parts of the world, as well as all of those smart gadgets powered by AWS. It wasn't only a problem with the smart device. Many organizations were impacted, as a result of it. These firms rely on Amazon's cloud services to store data, run their apps, and perform a variety of other activities, but they had to wait until someone figured out what was going on. It's safe to say that Amazon did respond promptly, but not before it became apparent how reliant we are on the global internet conglomerate.


One awful situation occurred when the smart doorbell service Ring malfunctioned completely. Users were unable to silence alarms, keep track of children, or check for intruders during this period since their home monitoring service was down. Likewise, Public, an investment platform, went down at the same time. Users were unable to trade on the site, which potentially eroded a lot of investor money in the process.


Wait, there is more to come!


The Washington Post, for example, was unable to publish its stories on time. In certain countries, Netflix's streaming services wouldn't operate. Disney theme parks were off-limits to visitors and Tinder became inaccessible for a time (ahem ahem).

gif

Despite this, many organizations still believe that they can establish and maintain a secure AWS environment without hiring experts. They are, however, quickly discovering that their initial assumptions were incorrect. It's becoming more apparent that the reliance on AWS has only increased since the pandemic. Companies are investing billions to improve their digital presence, and AWS is their first choice. In fact, AWS now dominates over 40% of the $64 billion cloud infrastructure services market.


You'd think that a company's market dominance is based on a great performance. To some extent, it is. However, these massive blackouts are cause for serious concern. Amazon Web Services has had several outages in recent years, including the following: In 2011, AWS was down for a period of more than 24 hours. AWS suffered another outage in 2015 when it went down for 35 minutes. In 2017, Amazon experienced a four-hour AWS outage that cost companies on the US S&P500 Index to lose $150 million.

I'm hoping that Amazon will take action on this and ensure that the internet does not go dark all of a sudden once again.

gif

Concluding thoughts

The recent AWS outage on December 7th brought the internet’s reliance on Amazon into sharp focus. It wasn't just a problem for smart devices; it was an issue that impacted many organizations, who rely on Amazon's cloud services to run their apps and store data. While there are other providers in this space (Google Cloud Platform comes immediately to mind), it's clear that companies like these will need to invest heavily in redundancy so they don't lose customers when something goes wrong with one of their core capabilities.


It's safe to say that AWS did respond promptly, but not before it became apparent how reliant we are on the company for many aspects of our digital lives.


For now, we can only hope that nothing disrupts ScroogeMarketer posts. Keep learning!