Chances are, you might've seen something dubious happening on the internet yesterday. Maybe Slack wasn't working at your job or images weren't loading on your favorite website. That's because Amazon Web Services went down for about four hours, breaking websites and their ability to load images and other information properly.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is owned by Amazon, is a cloud storage service that many companies and websites use. It lets you store data on Amazon's servers for a fee. Many of your favorite companies like Netflix and Pinterest use AWS. A lot of companies also use S3, a tool offered by AWS to store images (as well as entire websites) — and it's the particular tool that went down. It left websites without the ability to use or send any images and essentially, took down the internet.
After a few hours, AWS finally announced that S3 "is operating normally." But not before, the internet freaked out about it.
Amazon S3 is down and the internet is burning pic.twitter.com/PZ6sU54UK6— G (@govinbhai) February 28, 2017
List of things that go down when AWS S3 goes down:
1. Your app
2. Alerting for your app
3. The support tool you use
4. Your faith in the web
— Fernando (@fmc_sea) February 28, 2017
Today I learned that #AWS runs the internet.
— Jared Rauh (@JaredRauh) February 28, 2017
Outages like today show just how many companies depend on AWS for their data and storage needs — and what happens when it goes down.