Amazon's cloud hosting service experienced technical errors that caused several major websites to go down earlier today. The Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing service is one of the leading providers in cloud computing, hosting several of the major social websites including Foursquare, Quora, and Reddit. The crash last night that took down several of these sites has raised concerns once again about the reliance and reliability of operating from the cloud.
The popular location-based social check-in service Foursquare had said it was experiencing some issues but seems to be back up and running. "Our usually amazing data center hosts, Amazon EC2, are having a few hiccups this morning, which affected us and a bunch of other services that use them," read a message posted on Foursquare's homepage. The message later said "everything looking to be getting back to normal now." This seemed to be the case for Reddit as well. However, Quora, as of this writing, is still down.
Cloud computing involves the storage and sharing of data on the internet or on external servers. And in the case of Amazon's cloud service, they've got a huge collection of computing power in web-connected data centers throughout the world and have become an integral part as outsourced infrastructure for businesses, especially startups. And so, although an incident like this remind us of the vulnerabilities with this type of computing, it also makes us realize that there are few alternatives to this model as companies continue to jump on the cloud for storage and web services.