A Tough Week for the Internet as Major Sites Experience Outages

PHOTO: A look behind the scenes at the physical heart of the Internet, one of the giant data centers for Google in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Last week it was YouTube for a few minutes, but this week it was more than just the streaming video service that wasn't available to Internet users.

Earlier this week, Amazon's Web Services went down causing sites that rely on Amazon's servers to go down too. Popular sites like Reddit, Pinterest, and Foursquare all experienced outages as a result. The outage lasted for a few hours on Tuesday, and naturally many took to Twitter to complain about the fact that people couldn't get to their services. (By the way, Twitter itself experienced its fair share of outages .)

Today a separate outage occurred. Google's App Engine, which powers other sites, along with Dropbox and Tumblr experienced outages. The outage lasted close to two hours for many of the services.

"At approximately 7:30 am Pacific time this morning, Google began experiencing slow performance and dropped connections from one of the components of App Engine. The symptoms that service users would experience include slow response and an inability to connect to services," Google wrote on its site.

Similarly Tumblr tweeted about the outage: "Tumblr is experiencing network problems following an issue with one of our uplink providers. We will return to full service shortly." Two hours later, Tumblr tweeted that the errors had been fixed and it was back online.

"It used to be back in the day, four or five years ago, systems weren't dependent on each other. But now even standard websites -- the things people go to all the time -- are made up of 50 or 100 services that are serving ads and tracking information," Brian Gracely, a Cloud computing expert and editor of CloudCast.net, explained to ABC News. "If one of the big services or an Amazon or Google goes down it can affect hundreds of other services."

Tuesday and today's outages don't appear to be related, but according to the Internet Traffic Report, traffic across the web in North America declined today. The Next Web points out that the same report shows that there was a loss in packet data, which measures reliability of Internet connections.

These issues do not appear to be weather related either. However, many Internet providers will be preparing as Hurricane Sandy makes its way to the East Coast.

"We are monitoring Hurricane Sandy and making all possible preparations, e.g. generator fuel, food/water, flashlights, radios, extra staff. Our infrastructure teams are following our storm response plan that we have developed and utilized during major storms over a multi-year period," an Amazon spokesperson said.

"These companies, like Google and Amazon, run the equivalent of what used to be 20th century factories. They are really large and occasionally they have an outage because they have a power failure or weather issues," Gracely said. "It happens periodically, and it used to happen more than we knew, but nowadays we are so connected we know about it more," told ABC News.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...