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AWS outage worries enterprise customers

AWS outages are fewer and less frequent, but the cause of an outage this week has IT pros feeling apprehensive.

An AWS outage this week didn't affect many enterprise customers, but IT pros are still concerned with its caus...

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The outage occurred between 5:25 and 6:07 PM PT on Tuesday, June 30th. According to a message posted on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Service Health Dashboard, there was an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of the AWS network that affected traffic from some end-user networks.

"The root cause of this issue was an external Internet service provider incorrectly accepting a set of routes for some AWS addresses from a third-party who inadvertently advertised these routes," the status message said.

Providers should normally reject these routes by policy, but in this case, the routes were accepted and propagated to other ISPs affecting some end-users' ability to access AWS resources.

"Once we identified the provider and third-party network, we took action to route traffic around this incorrect routing configuration," the status message said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

While AWS outages are becoming increasingly rare, and this was a brief outage that affected few enterprise users, it still reportedly caused popular sites such as Netflix and Pinterest to be unavailable for a short time Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, enterprise AWS users say it's alarming that a third party could compromise the availability of AWS resources.

"It is concerning because a third party was able to create an AWS outage for 40 minutes," said Kevin Felichko, CTO of PropertyRoom.com, an online auction company based in Frederick, Md. "While I do not know the complete details, I would expect AWS to not be vulnerable to the actions of a third party."

The cause of the outage is also worrisome to Mark Szynaka, a cloud architect for consulting firm CloudeBroker, based in New York.

"[It] strikes fear in my heart that routing irregularities can happen which cause overall internet problems," Szynaka said. "They don't specify the internet provider but this is a serious matter and one which the provider and the third party should have processes in place to prevent false routes from being forwarded."

Amazon did not comment beyond its official statement about the causes of the AWS outage on the Status Health Dashboard.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for SearchAWS. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.  

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None of our customers reported any issues. But issues with routes in the network can look different for different people. More importantly the issue was not on the AWS side. The issue is a consequence of how the internet is fundamentally designed, assuming a relationship of trust. There have been other similar incidents in the past where a third party caused a network issue for a major website. For example in 2008 the government of Pakistan took down YouTube globally (http://www.cnet.com/news/how-pakistan-knocked-youtube-offline-and-how-to-make-sure-it-never-happens-again/). While being on the cloud makes these cases more high profile, the truth is it reduces such incidents. Amazon has more resources and more push than most companies. Amazon also has more global information and are better able to detect the issue and have them addressed faster. In addition the cloud makes it easier to implement better systems for fault tolerance and disaster recovery.
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Well, everyone should take a deep breath and get on with it. AWS does not control the Internet, and if a third party does something dumb, then it can affect Internet users. Curiously, Ms. Pariseau, the author of the article, does not name the third party provider who screwed up, but she found it appropriate to put AWS all over her article, even though they had nothing to do with it.
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