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downtime

Looks like last night’s Netflix outages didn’t happen just because too many of us were escaping our families in the warm, familiar glow of bad TV shows. It’s Amazon’s fault. Specifically, Amazon Web Services, and more specifically yet, EC2.

UPDATE, 12:15 p.m. Pacific: Services have been restored. You may go back to avoiding your family and watching bad TV shows.


EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud; it’s Amazon’s service for pay-as-you-go, (ostensibly) scalable cloud computing. A huge swath of big, cool apps use EC2, so saying “EC2 is down!” is like saying, “Depending on geographies, half the Internet you actually care about is down!”

The last time we saw EC2 take a big ol’ swandive was back in October. Yes, just two months ago, Amazon managed to flatline a bunch of services, like Flipboard, Airbnb, and Reddit.

If you take a look at the AWS health dashboard, you’ll see this morning that some services (elastic load balancing, Elastic Beanstalk) are still experiencing issues in North America.

For its part, Heroku (which platform-as-a-service also supports a huge swath of the Internet you care about) is also having issues, including HTTP errors and ssl:endpoint unavailability. In other words, if you’re using Heroku for https://, your site might be down. Or it might not serve pages and pictures correctly. Or it might be fine. Just depends.

There’s a lesson in here. For normal people who don’t work at Netflix or AWS or Heroku or Pinterest and who also celebrate Christmas, the lesson is get off your iPhone and go hang out with your family. They won’t be around forever.

The lesson for devs not employed at Heroku or AWS: Don’t put all your eggs in the exact same basket as everyone else on the Internet.

The lesson for AWS and Heroku employees is, much like ER doctors or plumbers, don’t count on a holiday.

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