The Amazon EC2 cloud outage lasted more than 20 minutes early Thursday morning

Amazon EC2 Users Critical of Delayed Status Updates During Brief Cloud Outage

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Cloud service Amazon EC2 is back online after about 20 minutes of downtime early Thursday morning. The connectivity issue affected Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud in its North Virginia data center.

Many users tweeted that it took AWS 18 minutes to update its Service Health Dashboard with the news of the outage. The brevity of the outage – it lasted between 2:22 AM and 2:43 AM – means that there were only a few minutes between the status update and AWS EC2 coming back online. The official Amazon announcement came at 2:40 AM PST.

This outage comes a few weeks after the Windows Azure cloud platform was down for more than 12 hours after a glitch with a security certificate on leap day. According to Microsoft, the service was no longer able to calculate the correct date while attempting to validate SSL certificates. On Monday, Microsoft announced that it would credit customers affected by the outage 33 percent on their entire monthly bills. While this outage was considerably longer than the AWS outage this morning, 20 minutes of downtime can still wreck a lot of havoc depending on the application. It is unclear if Amazon will credit customers affected by Thursday’s brief downtime.

When outages like this happen, regardless of the brevity, it can be difficult for cloud providers to reassure customers that their data is safe, and that the infrastructure is reliable. Transparency is often considered the best method for dealing with cloud customers and outages, and it is important for cloud providers to inform customers via the health dashboard or status page of outages as they happen, especially, if like Amazon, you claim the status page publishes the “most up-to-the-minute information.”

Amazon, Microsoft, and Google all made separate announcements in the last couple of weeks promising to lower prices for some cloud computing services like storage. HP also announced this week that it will launch a public cloud service to compete with AWS.

According to a report by Data Center Knowledge, the internet connectivity issue also affected DNS resolution for Amazon Virtual Private Cloud customers.

Talk back: How does your cloud computing provider deal with outages? Do you use your health dashboard to update customers to incidents like outages as they happen? What do you think of the latest EC2 outage? Let us know in the comment section.

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  1. I use Cedexis Radar for monitoring performance of my infrastructure including my Cloud (Amazon). Today, with this approach, i've detecting outage and i can bypassing with load-balancer. Best choice at this time for me (CTO of content editor)

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