A History of AWS Cloud and Data Center Outages

Outages at AWS is nothing new. Since AWS first debuted in 2006, we've reported on the cloud giant’s data center outages. Here’s the timeline of events.

Data Center Knowledge

April 25, 2024

4 Min Read
Amazon Web Services homepage through magnifying glass. AWS is a secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage.
Dzianis Hil / Alamy

According to InformationWeek’s 2024 Cloud Computing Report, 60% of IT decision makers use Amazon Web Services (AWS) and half of these respondents have faced disruption due to an outage at AWS in the past 12 months.

But outages at AWS is nothing new. Since AWS first debuted to customers in 2006, Data Center Knowledge has been keeping tabs on the cloud giant’s data center outages and what they mean for the industry at large.

Here’s a timeline of the highlights:

September 29, 2007: Amazon EC2 Outage Wipes Out Data

In September 2007, AWS faced its first major outage, which wiped out some customer application data. Although Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) was still a “beta” service at the time, users were less than enthusiastic about the loss of data.

2008: Major Outages for Amazon’s S3 and EC2 Services

In 2008, users of AWS saw significant outages in February and June. On February 15, an outage disrupted sites using AWS to store images. On June 5, severe weather conditions briefly took out power in an undisclosed AWS data center.

2009: AWS Outages in June, July, and December

In 2009, AWS was hit by three major outages, beginning with a June 10 lightning strike taking out service for the EC2 cloud computing service. On July 19, the cloud service provider suffered a two-hour outage, resulting in Amazon.com becoming inaccessible for users. Finally, on December 10, AWS faced a third outage due to power problems in a northern Virginia data center.

Related:What's Causing Cloud Outages? A Network Managers' Guide

2010: Weekend Hardware Failures Cause AWS Outages

AWS encountered a series of power outages and hardware failures in 2010 that resulted in a loss of service for its customers on multiple occasions. EC2 experienced two power outages on May 4 and a seven-hour power loss in the US-East zone on Saturday, May 8. In each case, a group of users in a single availability zone lost service, while the majority of EC2 users remained unaffected. Then, on December 12, EC2 services in Amazon’s EU-West region experienced performance problems for about two hours, causing downtime for some of Amazon's European sites. Amazon refuted claims of electronic attacks, blaming the outage on the failure of several network hardware devices.

2011: AWS Outage Takes Out Reddit, Quora

On April 21, 2011, AWS suffered an extended outage in one of its northern Virginia data centers, which took down popular sites including Reddit and Quora. Later that year, in August, AWS also faced outages in a Dublin data center, and offered a 10-day service credit for all those affected.

Related:AT&T Outage Shines A Spotlight On Network Dependability

2012: Bugs, Generator Failures, and a Christmas Eve Outage

2012 saw a number of major AWS outages, including:

2013: Autumnal Outages

In 2013, AWS suffered two major outages. First on August 19, AWS suffered a 45-minute outage that resulted in downtime for Amazon’s flagship Amazon.com retail sites. Then, on September 13, AWS services in the US-East 1 region suffered a near two-hour outage.

September 20, 2015: Amazon’s DynamoDB Outage

In September 2015, AWS’s US-East region experienced a brief network disruption impacting its NoSQL database service, DynamoDB. As a result, some of the internet’s biggest sites and cloud services were made unavailable.

June 5, 2016: Sydney AWS Cloud Outage

Bad weather knocked out AWS services in Sydney, Australia, in June 2016. AWS said a significant number of EC2 instances and EBS volumes within its Sydney region were impacted by connectivity issues.

February 28, 2017: AWS Outage that Broke the Internet Caused by Mistyped Command

Hundreds of millions of dollars were lost as the result of an AWS outage in February 2017. According to Amazon, the disruption was caused by a mistyped command during a routine debugging exercise. The outage lasted several hours and affected various AWS customers, including Coursera, Medium, Quora, Slack, Docker, Expedia, and AWS’s own cloud health status dashboard.

March 2, 2018: Equinix Power Outage Behind AWS Cloud Disruption

In March 2018, a power outage at the Equinix data center was blamed for connectivity problems that temporarily silenced Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa and disrupted operations for some AWS customers, including Atlassian, Twilio, and Capital One.

November 4, 2020: AWS Outage Hits Roku, Adobe

AWS suffered an outage in November 2020 that impacted some enterprise customers, including Roku, Adobe, and Flickr. AWS’ service page noted that its Kinesis data streaming service was “impaired” in its US East 1 region.

December 5, 2022: AWS Outage in US-East 2 Availability Zone

In December 2022, a 40-minute outage hit AWS’s US-East 2 region, the second outage for the zone in 2022. AWS published no incident summary for this outage, and a spokesperson told Data Center Knowledge the company does “not publish Post-Event Summaries … for every service event.”

June 13, 2023: Amazon's Cloud Computing Service Experiences Regional Outage 

Recently, in June 2023, AWS experienced a wide-reaching outage, affecting many large organizations, including The Boston Globe, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Associated Press.

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