Overnight on Wednesday, Amazon’s cloud-based EC2 (Elastic Computing Cloud) service went down, affecting sites including Foursquare, Reddit, Quora, and Moby. According to Amazon’s own dashboard, both its EC2 service and its Relational Database Service were experiencing “instance connectivity, latency, and error rates.”
Apart from being an online retailer, Amazon is a major cloud service provider, and fledgling sites without their own infrastructure are drawn to Amazon’s inexpensive hosting fees. “On the plus side, [outsourcing to Amazon] lets startups scale up their infrastructure much more cheaply and efficiently,” Business Insider's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explained. “On the down side, they have to rely on an outside party for the most crucial part of their service—staying up.” So when the Amazon cloud experiences technical issues, it drags a host of sites down with it.
By late morning, Amazon reported that its data center in Northern Virginia was still “continuing to work toward resolution” of the EC2 issues.