Netflix is down: AWS outage takes down service on some devices

Gigaom

Updated: Netflix is inaccessible for users on some devices on Christmas Eve, thanks to an outage of Amazon’s 9s AMZN) AWS cloud infrastructure. There is no word from Amazon when the issue will be fixed. Netflix officially acknowledged the issue on Twitter:

We're sorry for the Christmas Eve outage. Terrible timing! Engineers are working on it now. Stay tuned to @Netflixhelps for updates.—
Netflix US (@netflix) December 25, 2012

However, there’s some good news for affected users: Netflix Cloud Architect Adrian Cockroft reported on Twitter that the service is only affected on some devices, while others are working fine. In other words: If Netflix isn’t streaming on the device of your choice, try accessing it via other means before you give up. Cockroft tweeted Monday afternoon:

Bunch of ELBs down, lots of happy Netflix instances getting no traffic, still waiting for AWS to fix it. Some devices working, others not.—
adrian cockcroft (@adrianco) December 25, 2012

First reports about a Netflix outage popped up online around 1 p.m. PT. Shortly thereafter, Amazon started reporting that some of its Elastic Load Balancers are down. The company’s last status report, issued at 4:15p.m. PT, reads:

“We continue to experience increased errors for Elastic Load Balancing API calls in the US-EAST-1 region and continue to work towards resolution.”

We will update this post as soon as we know more.

Update 1 (5p.m.): A Netflix spokesperson emailed us the following statement:

“We are experiencing a partial outage late this afternoon (Pacific Time) that affects a number of streaming devices. Our team is working hard to address the problems and get the service fully up and running again.”

There are some reports of users who are able to use Netflix with their PCs without any issue.

Update 2 (5:10p.m.): It’s worth noting that AWS East, which is at the heart of this outage, has had multiple serious outages over the last several months.

Also, wondering what a Elastic Load Balancer actually does, at least when it’s working? Amazon has a somewhat technical explainer on its website. (thanks Susan!)

Update 3 (5:20p.m.): Users on Twitter are reporting that the DramaFever streaming service is down as well, and the DramaFever.com website is currently inaccessible. It’s unclear whether this was caused by the same AWS outage.

Update 4 (6:10p.m.):  DramaFever has confirmed that it is affected by the same AWS issue as Netflix.

Update 5 (6:45p.m.): Amazon’s latest update on the situation, time-stamped 5:49p.m. PT, doesn’t sound very promising:

“We continue to work on resolving issues with the Elastic Load Balancing Service in the US-EAST-1 region. Traffic for some ELBs are currently experiencing significant levels of traffic loss.”

Update 6 (9:32p.m.): Roku has confirmed that its service is also affected by the outage, with Roku players complaining about Internet connectivity issues. A spokesperson sent me the following statement:

“Confirmed that the AWS outage is affecting services for some Roku users. Our technical folks are actively monitoring the situation.”

Meanwhile, Amazon is still having issues, and Netflix remains unavailable for a large number of users.

Update 7 (11:30p.m.): Amazon now says it is “in the process of recovering the service” and Netflix’s Adrian Cockroft is reporting on Twitter that things are looking up for users of the service:

More stuff is working more of the time now. Still a few ELBs needed to get more devices working. Just played something on my iPhone…—
adrian cockcroft (@adrianco) December 25, 2012

Update 8 (12/25, 9:40a.m.): The outage is officially over. Here is what Netflix tweeted earlier this morning:

Special thanks to our awesome members for being patient. We're back to normal streaming levels. We hope everyone has a great holiday.—
Netflix US (@netflix) December 25, 2012



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