Amazon Apologizes for Server Outage, Offers Credit
Amazon Apologizes for Server Outage, Offers Credit

Amazon's web services outage at its Northern Virginia facility continued for the second day on Friday. Reports say hundreds of companies are still affected, although many have restored service.

Some music companies were still feeling the effects of the outage on Friday. Boston-based Sonicbids alerted its Twitter followers on Friday that it was still resolving issues from the outage. Nashville-based MyWerx, which operates a song copyright management service, was also experiencing problems.

Indaba Music was hit by the outage Thursday morning. "Amazon provides almost all Indaba's hosting," Jesse Chan-Norris, the company's co-founder and EVP of engineering told Billboard.biz. But Indaba's service restored service by early Thursday evening and did not suffer any loss of data, he says.

During its down time, Indaba managed the crisis in two ways. First, the company used Twitter and Facebook to explain the service outage to its users. "I was pleasantly surprised -- the thread was really positive," co-founder and chief operation officer Matt Siegel told Billboard.biz about the conversation on Facebook.

Second, it quickly offered for download a zip file, a stem pack with four stems, individual pieces of audio for people to create remixes. Six hundred people had downloaded the file by the end of Thursday, says Chan-Norris. Submissions for Site Down Jam are being taken at Indaba's Opportunities page and are due by May 5. Artists who submit an entry will get a special "I Survived the Amazon EC2 Cloud Meltdown of 2011" profile badge.

Managing the outage has provided Indaba with some learning lessons. Siegel says Thursday's problems reaffirmed the dynamic between Indaba and its users. "We're lucky because we've built the kind of relationship with our users where we can delicately explain this to our users without sounding like we've passed the buck. This shows what the Indaba brand means."

Many observers believe the outage spells problems for Amazon. "This will give the other cloud vendors, especially the higher-end ones, a talking point that won't go away for years," Technology Business Research analyst Ezra Gottheil told Computerworld. Maybe so, but investors didn't immediately appear worried about the company's financial health: Shares of Amazon were actually up 1.1% on Thursday.

Chan-Norris doesn't believe the outage spells trouble for use of "the cloud" in general. "It highlights that there is this thing -- 'the cloud' -- and it is volatile. I don't think it will be a doomsday thing. People will look at the cloud just like any other service."