Log in

Netflix Streaming Goes Down During East Coast Storm

2 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Streaming service among sites effected when Amazon’s public cloud platform goes down

Netflix subscribers in the Mid-Atlantic region lost connection to the streaming rental service for several hours late June 29 and early June 30, following violent lightning and severe thunderstorms storms in the region.

While Netflix has experienced downed streaming service before, noteworthy to this disruption was that it was reportedly due to a failure with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud in North Virginia. Dubbed EC2, it is a public Web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make Web computing easier for third-party developers such as subscription video-on-demand trailblazer Netflix.

More importantly, EC2 enables clients to pay only for capacity actually used, in addition to providing developers with “failure resilient” apps that isolate themselves from common failure scenarios — such as adverse weather.

The Washington Post, which first reported the story, said “scary winds” and turbulent weather contributed to the inoperable cloud service — weather that also left more than 1.3 million people in the area without power.

Late in the evening of June 29, Netflix tweeted affected users that it was aware of issues surrounding streaming movies and TV shows.

“We’re working to resolve the problem,” posted Netflix@Netflixhelps.

Amazon spokeswoman Kay Kinton told The Associated Press that the storm cut power to some of company’s operations. 

Indeed, Netflix utilizes multiple third-party public cloud services in an effort to circumvent exactly the type of outage that occurred. Netflix often purposely fails select components in the cloud — via a tool called “Chaos Monkey” — to better safeguard from them happening again, according to a report on Forbes.com.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming pioneer in 2010 posted a list “survival” tips when dealing with the public cloud.

On June 30 Netflix tweeted that the issues reported earlier had been fixed. It said affected subs should stop and restart streaming service to engage the updates.

“Our apologies — and thank you for your patience,” Netflix @Netflixhelps tweeted users.

Add Comment