The outage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) affected small businesses. Why, because AWS provides servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security for companies of all sizes. And if your small business was using AWS for any of those services, it could’ve been affected during the outage.
Amazon Web Services Outage
The AWS outage took place in its US-EAST-1 Region at around 11:00 AM Eastern on Tuesday (07/12/21). Almost four hours on, 3:34 PM, the company stated, “We continue to experience increased API error rates for multiple AWS Services in the US-EAST-1 Region. The root cause of this issue is an impairment of several network devices.”
Before 6:00 PM, the statement said, “We have mitigated the underlying issue that caused some network devices in the US-EAST-1 Region to be impaired.” Adding, “We are seeing improvement in availability across most AWS services.”
By 6:30 PM, Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing services were up and running, but some other issues still lingered on. The company said, “We are seeing improvement in availability across most AWS services. We continue to work toward full recovery for all impacted AWS Services and API operations.”
Overall, there were more than 20,00 reported issues with AWS. And the outage affected everyone from Google to Netflix, Disney, Ring, and Ticketmaster. It also impacted Amazon’s own tools used by warehouse and delivery workers. These workers couldn’t access the Flex or AtoZ app, which stopped them from scanning packages or accessing Amazon delivery routes.
So, what caused the outage? As of now Amazon hasn’t come out and given the exact reason for the outage.
Impact on Small Businesses
The AWS outage disrupted services at companies of all sizes. From payment apps to airline reservations, auto dealerships, and e-commerce operations they were all impacted. And small businesses either run some of these companies or rely on them as part of their operations.
This outage and those like it highlight the danger/vulnerability of concentrating the infrastructure of the internet to a few companies. With fewer and fewer companies dominating critical internet operations with centralized network infrastructure, outages will impact more people and businesses. And as more of the things we use require the internet, it won’t stop at just businesses feeling the impact. During this outage, smart devices were also not working, which affects consumers directly.
While large companies have the resources for multiple redundancies to protect their websites, data, and apps with different companies and data centers, it is not possible for all small businesses. However, even a small business can have internet redundancy to keep its online presence up and running.
Having electronic and physical redundancy along with a cellular option and using a different backup carrier can protect your small business.
Why Is AWS so Important?
The reason AWS is so important is that it controls around one-third (32.4% as of Q1 2021) of the market for cloud computing. For comparison, Google Cloud only has 9% of the market.
This has allowed AWS to get some of the biggest companies in the world as clients, as well as small businesses and startups. The AWS model allows its customers to pay for what they use; this means they don’t have to buy expensive equipment to store their data and network their resources. Moreover, the costs are scaled automatically based on usage.
The features and reliability of the platform have made it popular with companies that demand 100% uptime. This includes small businesses starting up. From streaming services to e-commerce, AWS is becoming the gold standard for cloud computing, even if there is the occasional hiccup.