Many Americans who were looking forward to settling down on Christmas Eve to watch their favorite holiday movie were out of luck this year as Netflix went down. The streaming video service suffered an outage at around 12:30 pm PST, preventing many devices, such as Roku and video game consoles, from playing videos. Unable to access their movies, users turned to their second favorite past time: complaining on Facebook and Twitter.
The outage was traced back to Amazon Web Services, which experienced similar problems earlier this year with its cloud. These previous outages affected several major websites, including Instagram, Pinterest, and Foursquare. Interestingly, while Netflix depends on AWS server systems to deliver its video streaming services, the company is also competing with Amazon’s own video streaming service.
Fortunately for those people unwrapping new devices the next day, video streaming was fully restored by Christmas morning. Netflix pinned the problem on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, which handles 95% of Netflix’s storage and computation needs. While cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular, incidents such as this show the technical and public relations problems of a business depending on another for critical services. Going forward, Amazon is working to balance size and service of its cloud offerings.