The US-East-1 data center operated by Amazon Web Services was knocked out by hurricane-like thunderstorms which ripped across Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia on Friday night, leaving more than 3.5 million people without power.
The storm's impact was instantly felt around the Web in a big way, knocking out a slew of social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix, Heroku, SocialFlow which run on Amazon Web Services data centers in Northern Virginia on Friday and Saturday.
Heroku told its users two minutes later; "Our automated systems have detected potential platform errors. We are investigating."
Video streaming site Netflix, photo site Instagram and virtual scrapbook site Pinterest took to other forms of social media, using sites like Twitter and Facebook to explain the situation to users.
“As of Friday evening of June 29, 2012, Instagram has been experiencing technical difficulties,” reads a recent Instagram Facebook post. “An electrical storm in Virginia has affected most of our servers, and our team of engineers is working hard to restore service.”
Netflix took to Twitter to apologize to users. “We’re sorry for the outage and working to get your Friday streaming back to normal as quickly as possible. Thank you for bearing with us,” Netflix tweeted, and added,”Everyone should be back up shortly, if you aren’t already. Thanks again for being patient. And awesome.”
“If you still can’t connect this morning, find your device here: http://bit.ly/LHNOhB , then remove and reinstall the app. #dcstorm,” tweeted Netflix Saturday.
Netflix and Pinterest were up and running Saturday. Pinterest indicating that things may be beginning to return to normal, tweeting, “We’re back! Our team is continuing to work on some remaining issues that may impact performance. Thanks for your patience and happy pinning!”
While some Instagram users were still experiencing lags as the popular photo-sharing service scrambled hard to restore problems till Sunday.
"Instagram" was the top search term on Google on Saturday, according to Google Trends.
By midday saturday, Amazon said in a statement that it had restored service “to most of our impacted customers, and continue to work to restore service to our remaining impacted customers.” “We will share more details on this event in the coming days,” the company added.
The power outage is expected to last for a few days. The failure also comes coincidentally days after Google announced its intention to get into the cloud computing services space.