CDN network outages can cause big troubles for CDN providers. As many websites and end users rely on content delivery networks, an outage results in downtime that frustrates website users and ultimately results in reduced income for content owners as their websites are unavailable to customers.
Unfortunately for CloudFront, a CDN network operated by Amazon and one of the largest and most popular in the world, such an outage was experienced on the 26th of November – just a few days before the frenetic post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping rush.
Specifically, the CloudFront CDN network was experiencing worldwide DNS problems, which meant that users could not connect to websites that are hosted by the CloudFront CDN. These websites include Medium and Instragram, although it was difficult to tell just how widespread the problems were.
CDN Network Difficulties Resolved
The issues with the CDN network were resolved within 2 hours, which was still long enough to cause many headaches for users and content owners. The problem was also reminiscent of a failure in Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer during Christmas Eve 2012 – another high traffic period for many content and website owners. During that incident, Netflix was the biggest loser, with families sitting down to watch holiday entertainment being left with no service for quite some time.
CloudFront wasn’t the only CDN network to experience difficulties this month. Microsoft’s Azure was hit by an extended global outage a few weeks ago which resulted in many of the platform’s cloud services go offline for several hours.
The effects CloudFront’s downtime were felt across the world, even as far as Australia, and given that it was at such an important time for online retailers, with millions of dollars being spent during Black Friday, this is an incident that the CDN network will want to ensure doesn’t happen again.