Storms hit Amazon data center, Netflix and Instagram

An exterior view of the Amazon.com warehouse in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

David Brancaccio: Wild storms from the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states right across to the Midwest-have left sweltering heat and massive power outages in their wake. Several million people have been without power over the weekend from Maryland and Virginia, to Ohio and Illinois. And one of the casualties has been the Internet. Power interruptions at a big data center operated by Amazon.com in Virginia crashed other popular websites that rent out Amazon's computers.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Over the weekend, Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram had to update their users via Twitter and Facebook about server outages caused by powerful East Coast storms that brought their sites down.

These websites all contract with Amazon to provide cloud-computing. It’s a big and growing business for Amazon, which also uses these data centers for its own ecommerce. The sites said most service was restored by mid-day Saturday as Amazon worked to restore both its primary power supply and backup generators at its Virginia facility. 

Technology analyst Rob Enderle says this is a sign of poor planning. 

Rob Enderle: A lot of the newer internet companies have not been good in terms of security and redundancy--clearly forgetting a lot of the lessons that have been hard-learned over the last few decades. So yeah, it's a problem.

Enderle says these companies need to do a better job of establishing multiple server farms in different parts of the country. That’s to make sure natural disasters in one region, don’t take their services offline all over the world. 

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace. 

 

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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