Amazon: Hardware Failures Caused Outage

Sunday’s downtime for some of Amazon’s European sites was caused by the failure of several network hardware devices, the company said, debunking reports that the outage may have been caused by electronic attacks from allies of Wikileaks.

In an update to its Service Health Dashboard, Amazon Web Services said that EC2 services in its EU-West region experienced performance problems between 12:37 PM and 2:32 p.m. This region is hosted in a data center in Ireland.

“These errors were caused by the malfunction of a second network device carrying traffic that had recently been shifted off of another failed network device,” Amazon reported. “The first device was nearly repaired but, unfortunately, was still unusable when the second device independently failed. Because full redundancy had not been restored to this part of our network, this second failure resulted in an interruption of connectivity for the EU EC2 API servers. Our networking team was able to re-route traffic to restore connectivity and, shortly afterward, complete repairs on both network devices involved.”

The downtime caused some blogs and news ties to speculate that Amazon had come under a denial of service attack from allies of Wikileaks, which recently had its cloud hosting services discontinued by Amazon Web Services. A planned effort to attack Amazon was called off last week by the Wikileaks allies, who said they lacked the numbers to mount a meaningful attack on Amazon’s sturdy distributed infrastructure.

That point was reiterated early Monday by the group’s unofficial Twitter account. “WE REPEAT: We can not attack To some journalists: check your sources well please.”

Amazon Web Services said the incident may prompt it to redouble its efforts to have backup hardware available on-site.

“Though it’s somewhat unusual to have two failures like this in this short a period, we will not accept this as a statistical anomaly,” Amazon said. “We’re going to reassess our strategy for keeping spare devices to have better coverage in situations such as these.”

Get Daily Email News from DCK!
Subscribe now and get our special report, "The World's Most Unique Data Centers."

Enter your email to receive messages about offerings by Penton, its brands, affiliates and/or third-party partners, consistent with Penton's Privacy Policy.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)

One Comment