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Major Amazon Web Services outage crashes several sites, apps

The AWS outage affected Amazon, Prime Music and Ring, as well as the McDonald’s and Instacart...
The AWS outage affected Amazon, Prime Music and Ring, as well as the McDonald’s and Instacart apps, Disney+ and many other sites and apps.(Amazon Press Center)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 3:04 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2021 at 3:32 PM MST
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(Gray News) - An Amazon Web Services outage Tuesday shut down many popular apps, sites and other internet services.

The cloud computing service has millions of customers, according to its site. The website DownDetector.com, which tracks reports of outages, showed a spike for Amazon, Prime Music and Ring, as well as the McDonald’s and Instacart apps, Disney+ and many others.

It also affected the content management system used by Gray Television to update its stations’ websites.

The outage happened around 10:30 a.m. ET. Some sites were still experiencing issues hours later.

AWS reported multiple issues on its service health dashboard but stated it had identified the root cause and was making progress toward a full recovery of service. It did not have an estimated time when everything would be fully operational, but staff “executed a mitigation which is showing significant recovery in the US-EAST-1 Region.”

The issue primarily affected its services in the Eastern U.S., Amazon said. It did not disclose any additional details about the cause.

Problems began midmorning on the U.S. East Coast, said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik Inc, a network intelligence firm. “AWS is the biggest cloud provider and us-east-1 is their biggest data center, so any disruption there has big impacts to many popular websites and other internet services,” he said.

Customers trying to book or change trips with Delta Air Lines were having trouble connecting to the airline. “Delta is working quickly to restore functionality to our AWS-supported phone lines,” said spokesperson Morgan Durrant. The airline apologized and encouraged customers to use its website or mobile app instead.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said it switched to West Coast servers after some airport-based systems were affected by the outage. Customers were still reporting outages to DownDetector, a popular clearinghouse for user outage reports, more than three hours after they started. Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said there were no major disruptions to flights.

Kentik saw a 26% drop in traffic to Netflix, among major web-based services affected by the outage, Madory said.

It was unclear how, or whether, the outage was affecting the federal government. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in an email response to questions that it was working with Amazon “to understand any potential impacts this outage may have for federal agencies or other partners.”

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to the report. All rights reserved.