On Tuesday afternoon, Amazon Web Services reported an issue with its Simple Storage Service (S3) data centers in North Virginia. Thousands of websites were having trouble displaying media correctly, and the cause is still unknown.
The problem was so widespread that it even affected Amazon’s status site. The AWS service health dashboard did not show the outage among the most recent updates to the platform.
Meanwhile, most corners of the internet are either going crazy or rolling with the situation. S3 is a vital part to many websites’ core functionalities, so people working on these portals are currently waiting for the company to solve the issue.
How does Amazon’s outage affect the internet?
Amazon Web Services comprises several cloud-based solutions for websites and online pages, and S3 deals with data storage like images, GIFs, videos, banners, and other elements.
Close to 150,000 sites use Amazon’s S3 as their preferred service provider. Nearly 1% of the world’s top 1 million websites use the platform to host their content, and they are having serious issues with it this Tuesday afternoon.
Portals like Business Insider, Gizmodo, and The Washington post are having issues dealing with the state of the service. Amazon is still refusing to call it an outage, referring to it as an episode of ‘increased error rates.’
Other sites like Imgur and Giphy, which are dedicated repositories of images and GIFs respectively, are also suffering as a consequence of these data centers being temporarily down.
Applications with file sharing functionalities integrated as core features are feeling the impact too. Slack and Trello users have reported using these platforms has become a pain since the West Coast servers of S3 started experiencing issues.
Amazon believes it knows what is causing the issue
“WE ARE WORKING HARD AT REPAIRING S3, BELIEVE WE UNDERSTAND THE ROOT CAUSE, AND ARE WORKING ON IMPLEMENTING WHAT WE BELIEVE WILL REMEDIATE THE ISSUE,” said Amazon in a statement on the AWS status page.
The company has been focused solely on fixing the problem at hand over the last few hours, leaving too much room for speculation among frustrated employees bored at work thanks to the outage.
While the official cause has yet to be revealed by Amazon, constant rumors suggest this may be just a natural hiccup of the data centers, destined to happen at some point or another due to infrastructure degradation.
Others fear something more sinister is going on behind closed curtains at the US-EAST-1 facilities of the tech giant. Some say the incident may be the result of a hack or a massive DDoS attack like the one that affected Dyn a couple of months ago.