Feeds

Amazon cloud fell from sky after botched network upgrade

'Catholic penance' awards 10 days of credit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Clouds as dominos

This caused a kind of domino effect. The EBS cluster couldn't handle API requests to create new volumes, and as these requests backed up in a queue, it couldn't handle API requests from other availability zones. At 2:40 am, engineers disabled all requests to create new volumes in the affected availability zone, and ten minutes later, the company said, requests from other zones were operating normally.

But then EBS nodes in the affected zone started failing, and at about 5:40 am, this again caused problems in other zones. Amazon said that within about 3 hours, engineers began to lower error rates and latencies in those other zones and that by 12:04 pm, they had isolated the problem in the original zone. For about 11 hours that morning, users were also unable to launch new EBS-backed EC2 instances in the affected zone.

Just after noon, about 13 per cent of EBS volumes in the original zone remained "stuck" and EBS APIs remained disabled. By 12:30pm on April 22 (the next day), all but 2.2 per cent of EBS volumes were restored. By 2 pm on April 24, all but 0.07 per cent was restored, and these, Amazon said, won't be restored. The company did not explain why.

The outage also affected Amazon's Relational Database Service (RBS), as RBS relies on EBS for storage.

Amazon said it will automatically provide customers with 10 days of credit to equal to 100 per cent of their usage of EBS volumes, EC2 instances and RDS database instances that were running in the affected availability zone at the time of the outage. It did not mention credits for services operating in the other availability zones.

The company did say that availability zones are physically separate from each other, but did not elaborate. It's unclear whether they're in separate data centers. In the post mortem, the company also said it intends to improve the design of the availability zones so that an EBS outage like this cannot spread from one zone to another.

Amazon also promises to expose additional APIs that will allow customers to more easily determine whether their instances are affected by an outage. This move was applauded by FathomDB's Santa Barbara, but he believes that the world should consider alternatives to Amazon, which pioneered the infrastructure cloud market and controls the largest market share.

"Amazon has been open about admitting to failure, and has promised to expose more of the private APIs so that customers and partners can be better able to help themselves in future outages, without relying on AWS to do so," he said.

"This is reassuring, though I believe that in the long term customers will be looking at other cloud operators and technologies, for redundancy and different philosophies in terms of timely and open customer communication, but also in terms of relying on well-understood technologies and on the broader community of engineering talent rather than just those at AWS." ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.