Amazon Web Services faces outage

Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage Friday morning, affecting thousands of websites that rely on its S3 storage and EC2 cloud computing services including Web 2.0 startups like Twitter, AdaptiveBlue, SmugMug and 37Signals.

On an S3 user message board there are posts that suggest the outage began at around 4:30 a.m. PST and users were seeing a 500 Internal Server Error message.

An Amazon press spokesman said that one of three geographic locations for the service was unreachable for about two hours, but that it was operating at 99 percent of normal performance before 7 a.m. on the West Coast, and that the company had been communicating its progress with customers all morning.

According to reports, many customers felt Amazon didn't provide enough information about the outage or when it would be fixed and felt the company could've at least posted a message on the front page of the Web services site so that customers would be aware that the problem wasn't on their end.

Online storage services are becoming increasingly popular and Amazon has become one of the leading providers through the notoriety of its brand as well as its guaranteed "99.9 percent uptime every month" service level agreement.

However, some customers say that this outage has prompted them to question the reliability of cloud computing and to set up a backup plan should an outage like this ever happen again.

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