Amazon cloud computing services go down, sites go dark

Cloud computing fail? Amazon outages hit Foursquare, Reddit, and other websites hard.

Cloud computing fail? Several Websites went dark today as Amazon struggled to restore server service.

A range of popular websites went dark today as Amazon struggled to restore service to its Web hosting and cloud computing servers. The trouble for Amazon began early this morning, when Amazon reported problems with its regional databases and EC2, a cloud computing service. Among the sites eventually affected were Foursquare, Reddit, Hootsuite, and Quora, an "online knowledge market" founded in 2009.

"We deeply understand why this is important and promise to share this information as soon as we have an estimate that we believe is close to accurate," Amazon reps wrote at around 2 this afternoon, in response to queries about a restoration of service. "Our high-level ballpark right now is that the ETA is a few hours." As of late this afternoon, some service was restored, but sites such as Quora remained offline.

The cloud "fail" has drawn plenty of jeers over on Twitter, a site well own for its "fail whale." Twitter users have criticized Amazon for allowing its servers to go down. Over at AllBusiness, Matthew McKenzie admits that "Amazon's cloud services can't deliver perfect uptime. Neither can any other cloud service. In absolute terms, they will always be less than perfect. Always." Still, McKenzie warns critics against recklessly hopping on the anti-cloud bandwagon.

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"Amazon will recover from this outage in a few hours, and it will learn some hard lessons from the experience," he writes. "Life will go on, and cloud computing will still be the safest and most efficient option, by far, for the vast majority of the businesses that use it. If there's any lesson for small business owners to take away from this incident, there you have it."

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