Amazon Web Services Goes Down and Takes a Multitude of Sites With It

Amazon Webservices LogoEarly this morning Amazon Web Services started experiencing a problem in one of their data centers in Virginia. Amazon Web Services is a cloud computing service from Amazon.com. Many online platforms and services use Amazon’s service to host data for their online applications. It’s been reported that the outages were caused by a networking event. The issue is with their Elastic Block Storage or EBS. EBS is used for block level storage that is used in Amazon EC2 instances. Here’s a statement from Amazon:

“A networking event early this morning triggered a large amount of re-mirroring of EBS volumes in US-EAST-1,”

“This re-mirroring created a shortage of capacity in one of the US-EAST-1 Availability Zones, which impacted new EBS volume creation as well as the pace with which we could re-mirror and recover affected EBS volumes. Additionally, one of our internal control planes for EBS has become inundated such that it’s difficult to create new EBS volumes and EBS backed instances.”

“We are working as quickly as possible to add capacity to that one Availability Zone to speed up the re-mirroring, and working to restore the control plane issue,” Amazon continued. “We’re starting to see progress on these efforts, but are not there yet. We will continue to provide updates when we have them.”

There are a variety of services being disrupted. Here are a few where I’ve experienced outages or limited availability:

Hootsuite
Foursquare
Reddit
Quora

If you know of any others please add them in the comments.

Google Makes Local Search More Transparent. A Big Change? Not Really.

Yesterday on the Google’s Public Policy Blog, Google announced that they were moving their settings for local search to a much more prominent place on the left hand panel of the search results page.

This is not a huge policy change. Which is even stated in their post:

With this new display you’re still getting the same locally relevant results as before, but now it’s much easier for you to see your location setting and make changes to it.

Google LogoGoogle has been using location to help search for years, but even when you search “Pizza” not all the results are local. There is a section with big national names and a section with local stuff. This change just brings the location feature to the surface and many believe it says that Google is putting more relevance on local search. I’ll give you that it does make a statement that Google is interested in promoting that they use your location to determine what is important for you when you search.

What the move and their explanation in the blog post tell me is that they believe that their technology is ready for the spotlight and well… There might just be a Foursquare factor here too. Right now location based technology is hot, so Google needs to make sure their search results are part this trend. What better way than to let everyone know that they have been using location long before the location apps were invented. And be honest. How many of you actually knew that they were tracking your location??:

“Location is one important factor we’ve used for many years to customize the information that you find.”