Amazon Cloud Goes Down Again, Breaks Foursquare and Others

The cloud is cool. But it’s not always there.

That’s what some Amazon customers learned today after another outage on Amazon’s cloud computing platform knocked off several popular websites offline.

Foursquare said the failure kept it and other services from working for “about 2 hours,” according to an e-mail from spokeswoman Erin Gleason.

Music-sharing website reported that it was down and “dealing with some Amazon Web Service issues,” at around 1:30 p.m. Pacific on Monday. A half-hour later, the site was operational.

The outage also clobbered Heroku, Flipboard, and others, according to reports.

Amazon reported errors in eight of its web services stemming from outages in northern Virginia. The failures began just before 11 am on Monday. By 2 p.m., many of the problems had been fixed, but Amazon was still reporting issues with its Elastic Compute Cloud, its database service, and Elastic Beanstock, a service that helps developers speed up the rollout of new software.

One of the reasons that smaller companies like cloud services such as Amazon’s is because it leaves the job of keeping servers up and running to the pros and lets startups focus on building cool new apps. But the downside of this is that every time Amazon goes down, it can take out a swath of sites.

And Amazon has been having a rough go of it lately. According to the website Data Center Knowledge, this is Amazon’s fifth big outage in the past year and a half.

Back in March, Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest all went down after a storm killed power at an Amazon data center (also in Virginia) and backup generators failed.

We’re not sure what caused the outage on Monday. Amazon did not immediately provide an explanation. But we do know that it was a storm-free day in Virginia — or at least it was storm free outside of Amazon’s data centers.

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