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Amazon Cloud services outage takes down huge swath of internet services

LOS ANGELES - A number of internet services were affected by an ongoing outage of Amazon's cloud infrastructure Tuesday. Amazon's S3 servers, which are often used to cache images and other media,

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The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, Feb. 20, 2017. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol
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LOS ANGELES - A number of internet services were affected by an ongoing outage of Amazon's cloud infrastructure Tuesday. Amazon's S3 servers, which are often used to cache images and other media, suffered an outage across the East Coast region Tuesday morning, affecting services ranging from Amazon's own media services to Medium to Slack.

Amazon acknowledged the outage on its cloud services status page, writing that "customer applications depending on S3 will continue to experience high error rates as we are actively working to remediate the errors in Amazon S3."

Here's what this line of technical lingo meant in practice: A number of web publishers, including The Verge and Axios, were unable to load images for their articles. 

The secure messaging app Signal reported on Twitter that users weren't able to attach images to their messages. And an outage of the cloud-based scripting and control service IFTTT even led to internet-connected light bulbs ceasing to function, according to user reports.

User reports on Twitter suggest that some media services have been affected by the outage as well: Notably, Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Video were unavailable for some users on some devices, including Alexa and internet-connected TVs. A number of users from Western Europe, including Germany and the U.K., reported issues with both services, as well as connectivity issues with their Fire TV devices. Amazon acknowledged the issues on Twitter, and promised that it is "already working on it."

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Notably, Netflix's streaming service remained available, despite the fact that Netflix is making heavy use of Amazon's cloud infrastructure as well. However, after past outages, Netflix has worked on being less dependent on single Amazon cloud regions, meaning that resources are dynamically being shifted if parts of Amazon's cloud services go down.

The outage also affected phone support systems at a number of companies and public agencies, including Boston's public transit agency and the app-based investment service Acorns.

The outage was ongoing at the time of writing.

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