As most all our readers probably know by now, Amazon Web Services (AWS) went down yesterday for nearly four hours resulting in significant disruption across the internet. Thousands of websites were affected, to various degrees, including the properties that are responsible for a lot of internet traffic such as Yahoo, Business Insider, Apple, Slack, Quora
But as Science Alert notes: “While the experience of seeing so many sites impacted or offline is similar to last October’s massive internet outage that took down Twitter, Reddit, and Amazon itself – the causes are quite different.
In October, hackers initiated a DDOS cyber attack on a major web company that affected hundreds of websites (Twitter, Reddit, and Amazon among others) that relied on the internet services of that web company. But yesterday’s internet frenzy was likely due to a software bug in AWS’ system that showed up at one of their S3 (simple storage service) sites in Northern Virginia, a region that is sort of known as the heart of the internet. Can you image your triple-shot connect speed at a coffee shop in the sleepy town of Tyson’s Corner?
Science Alert continues by pointing out that ” A Gartner study from last year found that AWS controls 31 percent of the market in global cloud infrastructure, which means that when major outages like this happen – like in 2011 and 2015– whole chunks of the internet can go down.
So whether from without (hackers) or from within (bugs), yesterday we learned just how finicky the internet can be.
Internet disruptions are no fun for anyone. But actually Disruption is a popular and positive term among the Silicon Valley startups, entrepreneurs and investors. Disruption is what drives innovation. The idea is to create a product so transformative that it doesn’t just improve but changes a way of doing something. Amazon has created some unique disruptions the last two decades starting with online retailer bookselling and continuing with Kindle, Kindle Fire, Prime, drones, and, of course, AWS. And when you creative a disruption in Silicon Valley, you get a huge leg up in the industry that you practically created…sometimes outright dominance.
Thus it should be noted that Amazon didn’t hugely suffer financially yesterday. And once things start settling over the coming days, AWS will probably be back to rolling in the critical revenue for Amazon. Many websites have too much at stake to suddenly drop AWS and seek an alternate cloud solution. But in the longer term, this potential reputation disruption could help competitors like Oracle and HP Enterprise disrupt the disruptor.