Amazon EC2 Outage Disrupts Service at Quora, Reddit and Others

An outage at an Amazon Web Services data center has caused disruptions in service across popular Websites, such as Quora, Reddit, Foursquare and Hootsuite.

An outage at an Amazon Web Services has caused service disruptions across the Internet at popular sites, such as Reddit, Quora and Hootsuite, that rely on AWS for their hosting services.

According to the AWS Status Health Dashboard, an Amazon data center in Northern Virginia took a hit around 1:41 a.m. PDT on April 21, disrupting the company's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) service.

At 1:41 a.m., Amazon's status dashboard said, "We are currently investigating latency and error rates with EBS volumes and connectivity issues reaching EC2 instances in the US-EAST-1 region." That hit led to further service disruptions at popular sites, including Foursquare, Reddit, Quora and Hootsuite.

Affected companies began issuing comments to inform users of their status.

A note on Quora's site said: "We're currently having an unexpected outage, and are working to get the site back up as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience."

Reddit said: "Reddit is in -emergency read-only mode' right now because Amazon is experiencing a degradation. They are working on it, but we are still waiting for them to get to our volumes. You won't be able to log in. We're sorry and will fix the site as soon as we can."

And Hootsuite said: "We are having troubles. Oh no! It seems much of the Internet is struggling today due to widespread outage problems. We're working diligently with our upstream providers to resolve the conundrums so we can be back online as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience."

Although Amazon's health dashboard continued to report gradual improvements in the health of the system, a status update as late as 11:09 a.m. PDT said: "A number of people have asked us for an ETA on when we'll be fully recovered. We deeply understand why this is important and promise to share this information as soon as we have an estimate that we believe is close to accurate. Our high-level ballpark right now is that the ETA is a few hours. We can assure you that all-hands are on deck to recover as quickly as possible. We will update the community as we have more information."

Meanwhile, in an April 21 blog post, Andy Singleton, president of Assembla, a software development tools and services provider that uses Amazon EC2, said, "Some Assembla Subversion repositories are currently inaccessible. This is because of problems in the EC2 storage architecture that we use. The same problem is affecting services like Reddit and Quora. Those services are completely down. At Assembla, the majority of our services are working normally. However, the svn outage is very difficult for the people who can't code..."

Singleton further explains, "We made the decision to leave Amazon EC2 a few weeks ago because of this storage problem. We are currently setting up dedicated servers with hard-wired storage."

However, Singleton also said:

"We use Amazon EC2, and we recommend it because their truly on-demand server resources make it possible to rapidly try things, fix things and innovate. Innovation speed is important. We recommend Amazon because they have done the most to deliver -on demand.'"