Netflix Outage Sparks Commitment To Improvement By Company
WEBPRONEWS.COM - On Christmas Eve, Netflix experienced a widespread outage of its
streaming services due to issues with Amazon Web Services. If you tried
using Netflix that day, you may have noticed, though not everyone was
affected (trust me, I did plenty of Netflix watching over my holiday
break). If you were online at all that day, chances are you probably at
least saw someone complaining about it or reports about the problem.
Customers were affected in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
Subscribers in the UK, Ireland and Nordic countries were not affected at
On Monday, Netflix put a post
up on its Tech Blog to explain what happened. Essentially, the
disruption in streaming services was impacted by problems with Amazon's
Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), which routes network traffic to Netflix.
Both companies have apologized for the outage, which began about 12:30 PM (Pacific), but "grew in scope" later in the day.
"Netflix uses hundreds of ELBs," explains Netflix's Adrian Cockcroft
in the blog post. "Each one supports a distinct service or a different
version of a service and provides a network address that your Web
browser or streaming device calls. Netflix streaming has been
implemented on over a thousand different streaming devices over the last
few years, and groups of similar devices tend to depend on specific
ELBs. Requests from devices are passed by the ELB to the individual
servers that run the many parts of the Netflix application. Out of
hundreds of ELBs in use by Netflix, a handful failed, losing their
ability to pass requests to the servers behind them. None of the other
AWS services failed, so our applications continued to respond normally
whenever the requests were able to get through."
The Netflix site itself was up and running throughout the incident,
so customers could still manage their queues and browse the selection,
and new customers could sign up (Update: Some claim
they have been unable to use various site functionalities). According to
the company, streaming from Macs and PCs was only slightly reduced from
"Even though Netflix streaming for many devices was impacted, this
wasn't an immediate blackout," says Cockcroft. "Those devices that were
already running Netflix when the ELB problems started were in many cases
able to continue playing additional content."
The company says it is working on ways to extend its resiliency to handle regional outages.
"It is still early days for cloud innovation and there is certainly
more to do in terms of building resiliency in the cloud," says
Cockcroft. "In 2012 we started to investigate running Netflix in more
than one AWS region and got a better gauge on the complexity and
investment needed to make these changes. We have plans to work on this
On a related note, Netflix says it sees higher usage on Christmas
Day, with increasing streaming rates until people go back to school and
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:43 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:43:51 GMT
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