Oops! Amazon Takes Down Netflix for Xmas

December 26th, 2012 by · 17 Comments

Netflix got some coal in its stocking from the same place lots of people had presents delivered from this Christmas. On Christmas eve, the Amazon cloud’s elastic load balancer services ran into trouble at its US-East node, and Netflix’s streaming went down across much of North America alongside various other web properties that depend on it.

Service was eventually restored the next day, but that’s quite an oops.  And the fact that Amazon’s Prime service is looking to compete with Netflix makes it an especially eye-opening oops, because Prime did not suffer the same outage.  Now, I’m sure it was unintentional and coincidental, but it does make one wonder if we aren’t looking at a CLEC/ILEC service parallel beginning to evolve when it comes to the cloud.

You of telecom know what I mean. When you lease too much of your infrastructure from a competitor, there’s always that background conflict of interest to worry about. There is a difference of course, in that last mile copper was a natural monopoly and cloud computing is anything but, so far anyway. But on the other hand it adds more color to the public versus private versus hybrid cloud argument.

How long will it be before Netflix separates itself from Amazon’s infrastructure in order to not put itself in a position of depending on a competitor’s repair crews? After all, they are already building out their own private CDN infrastructure for much the same reasons.  Amazon’s position as both wholesale cloud provider and retail cloud streaming provider looks like a channel conflict that could arise elsewhere just as easily.

It also brings back to the front burner the issue of reliability, or at least perceived reliability, of the cloud relative to alternatives. It’s not as if society spent the last 30 years not having its cable go out at inconvenient moments a dozen times a year. But even though the cloud offers services of all stripes the chance at much improved numerical reliability statistics, the greater centralization means that when a cloud-powered service like Netflix goes down it takes everybody down over a much wider audience. The same is true of every Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter outage of course.

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Categories: Cloud Computing · Content Distribution · Datacenter

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17 Comments So Far

  • Jimmy Crowe says:

    When will companies that need to deliver content flawlessly to the end user, begin to wake up and rely on Level 3 Communications to get the job done with perfection?

    Level 3 is the network partner you can rely on. One network connecting us all.

  • Jimmy Crowe says:

    P.S. Robert we sold all of our coal mines, so we have no coal to give out in stockings – we only deliver content FLAWLESSLY!

  • Robert says:

    Big mistake build a core system using Amazon infrastructure.

  • Anony says:

    Not the first time Amazon’s “elasitc services” have gone down. When will companies like Netflix have a true DR plan?

  • Anon says:

    Interesting that AWS keeps failing while core Amazon.com stayed up (on Xmas eve). Amazon may be capable of resillient operations – but only for their own benefit.

    At this point, any company using AWS is choosing to be a marketing company vs a tech company. Compare Netflix to Hulu or YouTube. Marketers w/o scalable tech are routinely displaced. If servers, data centers etc aren’t needed, why are Facebook, google, apple, MSFT and every fortune enterprise with resources headed (as fast as possible) towards private clouds & away from AWS and other cheap “public” solutions?

  • Ruprecht says:

    In July, Netflix announced they were building their own CDN called Open Connect. Did that die? Or was their grand plan to host it on top of AWS for the MSO networks that decided not to connect? From the sounds of it… seems like Open Connect hasn’t taken off yet. Maybe this will provide a catalyst.

  • CarlK says:

    Enterprise IT departments are increasingly moving applications to cloud-based solutions and looking for additive services to ensure network connectivity is reliable and secure. Level 3’s advanced network and cloud services enable an ultra-high availability, end-to-end cloud platform that optimizes business productivity by delivering AWS services over a network that meets the applications’ availability, latency and security requirements.

    Read more: Level 3 Supports Amazon Web Services’ New AWS Direct Connect Service – FierceTelecom http://www.fiercetelecom.com/press-releases/level-3-supports-amazon-web-services-new-aws-direct-connect-service#ixzz2GG3bimJN
    Subscribe: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/signup?sourceform=Viral-Tynt-FierceTelecom-FierceTelecom

  • ether says:

    CarlK, Direct Connect would not have solved what went wrong here – and L3 is not the only one providing it, either.

    I am actually a fan of AWS cloud services, but I would have to agree that its usefulness is for much smaller players. When you rise to the level of content that a Netflix or Hulu has, what the heck are they doing NOT building out their own private infrastructure?

  • CarlK says:

    Understood. Just adding a little “color” in order to show the opportunities that exist for various players. Level 3 remains “too hard to figure” for the reasons you cite, and like Charles T. Munger suggested awhile back. I think they remain in the “too hard” box on Warren E. Buffett’s desk here:


    On the other hand, I must say I could easily see Amzn buying Nflx, since not unlike S/Clwr, they have both become attached at the hip notwithstanding certain “chatter”.

    This today news is very good news for Netflix, btw.


  • No one cares says:

    Who cares about Level3 – they aren’t even a part of this story? Maybe Carl can start a new blog called Level3 Ramblings. He and the 3 other people on earth who still care about this sinkhole/company can then compare notes! I will show up and post irrelevant things about other companies…

  • CarlK says:

    You’re not looking ahead, you’re not looking all around yourself for the trends usurping the physical universe we all live in. When you finally enable yourself to see EYEBALL to EYEBALL around the GLOBE by OPENING your MIND to the possibilities–ubiquitous, personalized knowledge to be accumulated in real time any time–you will then come to the realization that, “a man can’t own enough bandwidth.” That’s the Level 3 Story with or without my blog! Take stock in (3) and hold it because, “you will be happy.” Carl Scott, Walter’s son. imo

  • Jimmy Crowe says:

    CarlK Scott, Happy new year, holding your Level 3 shares will make you happy indeed. The Southeastern Asset Management boys will make Mr. Market place a new price for LVLT at what Mason Hawkins claims is a floor price of $60.

  • ABC says:

    Good to see a few LVLT bagholders at least have a sense of humor from losing so much on this pos…or still completely out of touch.

  • Anonymous says:

    While we all wish carl would shut his trap, I think ABC probably would be voted (bc he thinks people take him series while carl at least has the self awareness in this regard) this site’s biggest fool. Level 3 up 32% ytd, vs. something like 11% for the s&p. Carl when u start your own site, please take your boy ABC with you. The misinformation posted there would be a real treat.

    • ABC says:

      Ahh..how cute. Another short sited cherry picker. How about you look at a 3 year, 5 year, 10 year chart, max? Your choice. But I see you are one of those lucky few that apparently always buys at the low and sells at the high. Look forward to your further spot on research to correct my misinformation and maybe you can teach me how to properly trade LVLT as well. Are you related to Jim Crowe by chance?

  • Anonymous says:

    I only measure your misinformation by the time you have been posting on this site. If anything, i would bet you were mr. consensus back then too which would have been on the long side.

  • Jimmy Crowe says:

    Intel and Level 3 will deliver all the live and stored content ever produced, flawlessly to any screen, any time, any where. Intel and Level 3 will make the world wide web and all LVLT shareholders very very happy.


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