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Amazon cloud sinks, smothers Web 2.0 darlings

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Whole swathes of Web 2.0 disappeared to the dark side of the cloud today, as an outage at one of Amazon's EC2 data centres torpedoed the likes of Quora and Reddit.

The service's status site showed that things started going haywire just over five hours ago, when techies began "investigating latency and error rates with EBS volumes and connectivity issues reaching EC2 instances in the US-EAST-1 region". This began to snowball, just as Europe got to work and the US East -1 region began to wake up and smell the coffee.

By 3.20am PDT it was claiming that error rates were recovering, but as of 6.59am PDT the message was: "There has been a moderate increase in error rates for CreateVolume. This may impact the launch of new EBS-backed EC2 instances in multiple availability zones in the US-EAST-1 region."

This left Quora's website meekly stating: "We're currently having an unexpected outage, and are working to get the site back up as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience."

Hootsuite appeared to be silenced completely.

Reddit appeared to be taking submissions, though attempts to use its search service returned the following message: "Amazon is currently experiencing a degradation. We are still waiting on them to get to our volumes. Sorry."

Of course, the cloud is all about virtualising and balancing workloads, ensuring redundancy and making sure problems in one place don't bring the whole network down. So it will be fascinating to hear Amazon explain how problems at one of its data centres has completely floored a number of its big name customers. ®

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