After a major outage of a storage service operated by Amazon Web Services on Tuesday, 54 of the top 100 e-commerce retailers’ web sites suffered slow loading times for several hours. Many services, including Express, Lululemon, and One Kings Lane, were entirely knocked offline, according to web monitoring company Apica, via Business Insider. Apple iOS users also experience some difficulty with company services, such as iCloud backups and Apple Music.
The outage to AWS’ S3 cloud storage service lasted around four hours, but affected some web sites for as long as 11 hours. The cloud giant has yet to offer an explanation for what happened.
Notably, Amazon’s flagship site and affiliate sites were not affected by the outages, and neither were the sites of several big-name brands and retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco and Newegg, Apica told Business Insider.
Apica's analysis of this disruption offered a lot of details for retailers to obsess over as they consider their future hosting needs. Most of the top retailer sites affected, including Target, Nordstrom, the Disney store and others, experienced declines of 20% or more in site performance, with their load times taking much longer than usual.
Ironically, Amazon's sites avoided service disruption — but it's no coincidence. Like many very large companies, and possibly like some of the other retailers that were not affected by the outage, redundancy is a key part of Amazon's strategy for its own sites. It spreads its storage needs across multiple regions, storage sites and services. Remember: redundancy.
This week's outage doesn't necessarily mean AWS is unreliable, but it should be a reminder that companies need to constantly evaluate the state of their cloud-hosted assets and functions, and may want to be careful about not layering their hosted services.