A global Amazon outage that lasted about five hours on Tuesday, Dec. 7, caused chaos in several U.S. and international companies, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The interruption in the supply of Amazon Web Services (AWS) was confirmed by the company and mainly affected the east coast of the U.S. The outage caused errors in websites and platforms that use its service to operate, leaving thousands of users without access and millions of dollars in losses.

AWS is a cloud computing service that allows companies to rent network capabilities, so a wide range of companies use it. However, several users began to report failures in Amazon applications or their company’s website and other platforms such as Netflix, Disney +, Tinder, Venmo, and Prime Video, among many others.

As indicated by Doug Madory, director of analysis of the company Kentik that performs Internet failure detection, a 26% drop in traffic was seen in streaming services.

Airline websites were also affected, especially the reservation system. A spokesman for Delta Air Lines, Morgan Durrant, said that customers were having trouble booking flights using AWS-supported phone lines. 

Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, explained that it had to switch to West Coast servers to continue operating the downed systems. But American, United, Alaska, and JetBlue airlines were not affected.

The Jeff Bezos-founded company said the outage was likely due to application programming interface (API)-related issues.

“We are seeing impact to multiple AWS APIs in the US-EAST-1 Region,” Amazon initially said on its page. “We have identified the root cause and are actively working toward recovery.”

About five hours after multiple companies and other organizations began reporting problems with Amazon Web Services, the company said that it had “mitigated” the underlying issue responsible for the outage. Shortly after that, it noted that several services had already recovered. However, they were still working to restore others completely.

AWS is Amazon’s big bet on the future and the one that provides it with the highest profitability. It dominates the market and is ahead of its biggest competitors, Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud.

While Madory stated that there is no reason to be suspicious about malicious activity, he evidenced the incredible complexity in which the networking industry is immersed and the scope of its failures. 

“More and more these outages end up being the product of automation and centralization of administration,” he said, warning that this brings operational complexity that makes outages “hard to completely avoid” and when they do occur “very impactful.”

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