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Netflix Streaming Down Christmas Eve Due to Faulty Amazon CDN

27 Dec, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Amazon’s rival Prime Instant Video service was unaffected


Netflix’s outage of its subscription video-on-demand service Christmas Eve wouldn’t normally garner national attention as temporary interruptions to streaming have occurred before.

What made the latest episode noteworthy (besides the slow news period) was the fact Netflix attributed the outage to Amazon’s content delivery network, which Netflix uses (among other CDNs) to deliver its video streams to Internet service providers.

Interestingly, Amazon’s SVOD service, Prime Instant Video, did not experience any outages over Christmas – underscoring what would appear to be a parasitic relationship between rival companies employing the same technology.

Amazon said the Christmas Eve outage involved “issues with the Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service” in a data facility (its oldest) located in Ashburn, Va. Amazon has newer (and more expensive) data facilities in California and Oregon.

Amazon said its Prime Instant Video Service was not affected Christmas Eve since it did not require ELB scaling during the time there were issues with the Virginia facility.

“Only Elastic Load Balancers that were scaling up or down had issues during that time period,” Amazon Web Services said in a Dec. 26 statement.

Amazon Dec. 21 launched a new super “data pipeline” and data storage facility located on the East Coast. Netflix over the summer launched its own CDN called “Open Connect,” which at the time handled about 5% of its data distribution. It plans to eventually distribute all of its streaming data through Open Connect.


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