sponsor-aws-300x111People posting photos, recording videos, making room reservations and reading the news on Sunday afternoon had to take a break for a few hours as an Amazon Web Services outage took down several popular websites.

Sites like Instagram, Airbnb, Vine and Flipboard all went out of service for a short period on Sunday due to what looks like an issue at Amazon’s Northern Virginia data center (US-EAST-1).

You can see the AWS incident report from today’s outage here. Amazon said it a was due to faulty networking device:

The root cause was a “grey” partial failure with a networking device that caused a portion of the AZ to experience packet loss. The network issue was resolved and most volumes, instances, and API calls returned to normal. The networking device was removed from service and we are performing a forensic investigation to understand how it failed. We are continuing to work on a small number of instances and volumes that require additional maintenance before they return to normal performance.

The last big AWS outage happened Christmas Eve 2012.

Amazon.com itself actually went down for 40 minutes last week, presumably costing the Seattle online giant millions in sales. Sunday’s outage was yet another reminder of how important of a company Amazon has become and how many people rely on it, whether it’s Instagram’s server or somebody’s next retail purchase.

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