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Amazon Cloud Outage Disrupts Traffic For Websites, Apps

Visitors arrive at the cloud pavilion of Amazon Web Services at the 2016 CeBIT digital technology trade fair on March 14, 2016 in Hanover, Germany.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's largest provider of internet-based computing services, suffered an unspecified breakdown on Tuesday.

The cloud computing division is separate from Amazon.com Inc.'s shopping site.

Known as S3, Amazon's "simple storage service" provides features ranging from file sharing to web feeds.

USA Today reports:

"The outage appeared to have begun around 12:35 pm ET, according to Catchpoint Systems, a digital experience monitoring company. Operations were fully recovered by 4:49 pm ET, Amazon said. The Seattle-based company did not comment on the cause of the outage.

"The most common causes of this type of outage are software related, said Lydia Leong, a cloud analyst with Gartner. "Either a bug in the code or human error. Right now we don't know what it was."

"The system that went down was the first of what now are three AWS regions in the United States. It is still the largest and is also where AWS rolls out new features, "so it's disproportionately big," she said."

AWS is a fast-growing source of revenue for Amazon and has helped transform the company into a technology platform.

The Associated Press reports:

"Amazon S3 stores files and data for companies on remote servers. Amazon started offering it in 2006, and it's used for everything from building websites and apps to storing images, customer data and commercial transactions.

"Anything you can think about storing in the most cost-effective way possible," is how Rich Mogull, CEO of data security firm Securosis, puts it.

"Since Amazon hasn't said exactly what is happening yet, it's hard to know just how serious the outage is. "We do know it's bad," Mogull said. "We just don't know how bad."

Forrester Research data shows that Amazon's service is significantly larger by revenue than any of its nearest rivals: Microsoft's Azure, Google's Cloud Platform and IBM.

Some analysts told The Associated Press that the Amazon outage doesn't prove there's a problem with cloud computing — it just highlights how reliable the cloud normally is.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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