Package pile-up: Amazon outage impacts deliveries

Tech

(NewsNation Now) — An Amazon Web Services outage Tuesday prevented employees from scanning packages or viewing delivery routes during one of the busiest weeks of the holiday shopping season.

The major outage in Amazon’s cloud computing network severely disrupted services at a wide range of U.S. companies for hours. The issue, which was concentrated on the East Coast, has since been resolved, according to an update on the AWS online dashboard. There was no reason Wednesday to believe it was a malicious act or carried out by hackers.

On the retail side – the outage caused many of Amazon’s logistics operations to come to a halt and locked warehouse workers and delivery drivers out of the company’s apps.

The outage took a host of popular websites such as offline and disrupted home smart devices.

Disney+, Instacart, Coinbase, Netflix, Tinder, Delta and Southwest Airlines all took a hit.

“These firms do not have their own infrastructure – in other words they don’t have a building with a lot of computer service connected to the internet,” said Dr. Ramnath K. Chellappa, a professor of information systems and operations management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Instead, they rely on AWS to do the leg work of storing customers’ data, running their online activities and keeping the site online.

“If Amazon goes down, they go down,” Chellappa said.

AWS is a cloud-service operation — it stores its customers’ data, runs their online activities and more — and a huge profit center for Amazon.

According to a report by Synergy Research Group, AWS holds roughly a third of the $152 billion market for cloud services — a larger share than its closest rivals, Microsoft and Google, combined.

The last major AWS outage was in November 2020. There have been numerous other disruptive and lengthy internet outages involving other providers.

In an October outage, Facebook — now known as Meta Platforms — blamed a “faulty configuration change” for an hours-long worldwide outage that took down Instagram and WhatsApp in addition to its titular platform.

Some cybersecurity experts have warned for years about the potentially ugly consequences of allowing a handful of big tech companies to dominate key internet operations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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