Netflix customers suffer cloud outage

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Streaming service affects viewers in several countries

Millions of Netflix subscribers were prevented from watching films and TV shows as the video streaming company suffered a service outage on its cloud.

The outage began at 6.45pm Pacific Time last night (2.45am UK time). Viewers in several countries both in North and South America were affected by the disruption to the cloud-based service.

Netflix acknowledged the outage on Twitter within the hour. “There's an outage affecting several regions and our engineers are working to resolve it as quickly as possible,” the company tweeted.

The service was out of commission for around two hours. The company later updated its Twitter status to tell users that the “issue that provoked the outage has been resolved and the system will be recovering shortly.” The firm did not specify what exactly happened with the cloud video service but a representative of the company said that the firm was looking into the cause.

Experts said that the disruption shows a need for cloud-based services re-examine the importance of redundancy in their infrastructure.

“While the cause is still unclear, the last outage over Christmas resulted from an Amazon Web Services (AWS) service failure,” said Richard Davies, chief executive of Virtual Cloudsvider Elastichosts.

“While the issue has now been resolved, outages like these can be further mitigated by working with ensuring redundancy across multiple datacentres, so that if one datacentre is experiencing problems it can failover to another so that service is not disrupted.”

Netflix has suffered a number of outages in addition to this one and another in December affecting Amazon Web Services, which Netflix runs its infrastructure on. The video service suffered several that hit the company during 2012.

Netflix recently released a new tool called “Conformity Monkey”. The tool has been released as open source to the public. It checks whether or not launched applications or instances have followed best practices, notifying owners of the instance/application when something is not conforming to these practices.

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