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How Much Did Amazon Web Services Outage Cost Businesses?

Amazon Web Services, The World’s Largest Data Infrastructure Provider, Was Down For Hours Today

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BY Cynthia Than - 01 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Amazon's cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, experienced an outage on Tuesday on the East Coast, causing widespread problems for thousands of users.

Services affected included Adobe's services, Amazon's Twitch, Atlassian's Bitbucket and HipChat, Buffer, Business Insider, Carto, Chef, Citrix, Clarifai, Codecademy, Coindesk, Convo, Coursera, Cracked, Docker, Elastic, Expedia, Expensify, FanDuel, FiftyThree, Flipboard, Flippa, Giphy, GitHub, GitLab, Google-owned Fabric, Greenhouse, Heroku, Home Chef, iFixit, IFTTT, Imgur, Ionic,, Jamf, JSTOR, Kickstarter, Lonely Planet, Mailchimp, Mapbox, Medium, Microsoft's HockeyApp, the MIT Technology Review, MuckRock, New Relic, News Corp, PagerDuty, Pantheon, Quora, Razer, Signal, Slack, Sprout Social, StatusPage, Travis CI, Trello, Twilio, Unbounce, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Vermont Public Radio, VSCO and Zendesk, among others.

The outage, which affected the company's S3 storage for several hours was unprecedented for the world's largest and busiest cloud infrastructure provider. According to an IDC white paper, "organizations using AWS praised its reliability, stability, and security. They reported experiencing fewer unplanned outages of applications running in the AWS environment, minimizing the loss of productive time during downtime."

On average, organizations surveyed using AWS instead of other providers reduce the cost of unplanned downtime on productivity by 81.7%. The unplanned downtime was 2.1 hours per year for companies using AWS compared to 10.6 hours without AWS, providing a 79.8% benefit. The time to resolve an outage was also quicker (2.1 compared to 2.4 hours) but most impressive was the amount of time a business saved from not wasting user productivity. According to the research, a company not using AWS would lose six times the productive work a user might generate from an unexpected outage: 3 hours per year compared to just 0.5 hours per year with AWS.

"Cost savings benefits of cloud computing have been well documented and understood by businesses with a number of proven use cases documenting results," IDC analysts say. Actual savings due to reduced downtime is likely to be even greater than what they estimated "because every hour of downtime does not equate to a lost hour of productivity or revenue generation, so IDC attributes only a fraction of the result to savings."

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