Many users of Amazon's utility computing platform report that their services are inaccessible this morning. The outage is having a ripple effect on many sites using Amazon to store images (such as Twitter) or widgets. Users are reporting issues with errors on both the S3 and EC2 services, and at least one user is reporting file loss. Amazon hasn't provided any explanation yet on what has happened, but is trying to centralize discussion on a thread in its developer forum.
UPDATE: As of 10 am Eastern time, users are reporting that their services are back up after about 3 hours of downtime. "We've resolved this issue, and performance is returning to normal levels for all Amazon Web Services that were impacted," Amazon says. A more complete incident report has been promised.
UPDATE 2: As of noon Eastern some customers are still reporting that their Amazon services are down. Amazon says "the system is continuing to recover. However, we are currently seeing slightly elevated error rates for some customers, and are actively working to resolve this." More updates and discussion at TechMeme and Appistry.
The last major outage for Amazon (AMZN) web services was in October, when issues on EC2 resulted in data loss for some users. That incident was among the factors prompting Amazon to adopt a service level agreement (SLA) for S3 storage.