272 Comments

Summary:

Netflix is down for some customers this Christmas Eve, thanks to a outage of some of Amazon’s cloud infrastructure. However, there’s good news: You may be able to watch your holiday movie, after all.

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Updated: Netflix is inaccessible for users on some devices on Christmas Eve, thanks to an outage of Amazon’s 9s AMZN) AWS cloud infrastructure. There is no word from Amazon when the issue will be fixed. Netflix officially acknowledged the issue on Twitter:

However, there’s some good news for affected users: Netflix Cloud Architect Adrian Cockroft reported on Twitter that the service is only affected on some devices, while others are working fine. In other words: If Netflix isn’t streaming on the device of your choice, try accessing it via other means before you give up. Cockroft tweeted Monday afternoon:

First reports about a Netflix outage popped up online around 1 p.m. PT. Shortly thereafter, Amazon started reporting that some of its Elastic Load Balancers are down. The company’s last status report, issued at 4:15p.m. PT, reads:

“We continue to experience increased errors for Elastic Load Balancing API calls in the US-EAST-1 region and continue to work towards resolution.”

We will update this post as soon as we know more.

Update 1 (5p.m.): A Netflix spokesperson emailed us the following statement:

“We are experiencing a partial outage late this afternoon (Pacific Time) that affects a number of streaming devices. Our team is working hard to address the problems and get the service fully up and running again.”

There are some reports of users who are able to use Netflix with their PCs without any issue.

Update 2 (5:10p.m.): It’s worth noting that AWS East, which is at the heart of this outage, has had multiple serious outages over the last several months.

Also, wondering what a Elastic Load Balancer actually does, at least when it’s working? Amazon has a somewhat technical explainer on its website. (thanks Susan!)

Update 3 (5:20p.m.): Users on Twitter are reporting that the DramaFever streaming service is down as well, and the DramaFever.com website is currently inaccessible. It’s unclear whether this was caused by the same AWS outage.

Update 4 (6:10p.m.):  DramaFever has confirmed that it is affected by the same AWS issue as Netflix.

Update 5 (6:45p.m.): Amazon’s latest update on the situation, time-stamped 5:49p.m. PT, doesn’t sound very promising:

“We continue to work on resolving issues with the Elastic Load Balancing Service in the US-EAST-1 region. Traffic for some ELBs are currently experiencing significant levels of traffic loss.”

Update 6 (9:32p.m.): Roku has confirmed that its service is also affected by the outage, with Roku players complaining about Internet connectivity issues. A spokesperson sent me the following statement:

“Confirmed that the AWS outage is affecting services for some Roku users. Our technical folks are actively monitoring the situation.”

Meanwhile, Amazon is still having issues, and Netflix remains unavailable for a large number of users.

Update 7 (11:30p.m.): Amazon now says it is “in the process of recovering the service” and Netflix’s Adrian Cockroft is reporting on Twitter that things are looking up for users of the service:

Update 8 (12/25, 9:40a.m.): The outage is officially over. Here is what Netflix tweeted earlier this morning:

  1. come on netflix. always seems to be an outage when you want to watch something the most. lampoon Christmas with the family. whoever you are dependent on its time to switch to someone else.

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    1. He-Man of Motherfuckin' Eternia Monday, December 24, 2012

      Probably due to everyone watching the same movies at once.

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      1. Think your off on that one Master of the Universe (He-Man) lmao

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      2. probably due to amazon wanting to sell rentals

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    2. Personally, I think we should ban together with a class action suit. Money lost talks loudly.

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    3. Agreed Doug i waited last year for them to put that movie on…oh wait they did a week after xmas.Assholes so i put it in Que so i could watch it tonight.We where having a lampoon family xmas just for laughs…lights,outfits,everything now alls we had left was to sit down drink some egg nog out of our antler cups,but nope they screwed the pooch on that one.

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    4. Problem isn’t Netflix, it’s Amazon, which seems to own an inordinate amount of the internet, every time Amazon has a problem, half the bloody internet, including Netflix, goes down. But blaming Netflix for this kind of outage is like blaming them when I can’t watch because of my *almost daily* comcast outages. Considering what I pay for cable tv t vs what I pay for Netflix, Netflix is still a better deal. So, I say, Yay Netflix. Merry happy holidays and all that.

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    5. Sounds like multiple services effected, and due to Amazon, not Netflix. Though I thought Netflix has a way around problems like this.

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  2. So gla this was posted! I was wondering what was going on and it is so gratifying to punch in a simple google search and get a result.

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  3. It must not be down for everyone, because I just spent the last couple of hours watching Capote on Netflix through my Apple TV.

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    1. Well ain’t you special. I’m like the rest of us ready to cancel Netflix.

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      1. Well your not like me. I love Netflix. It’s X-mas, give the guys a break over there. Yikes!

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      2. DarthYoda - Because I have a light and dark side Monday, December 24, 2012

        Let’s not cancel, let’s get a refund, and not a few cents. Class action anyone? If they had to give a months payment back to everyone, 1/12th of a years income for them, maybe they would be a little more attentive and proactive against these all too frequent outages.

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      3. Wouldn’t even consider cancelling Netflix over something like this.

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      4. ^pathetic

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      5. Jimi, in the full spirit of the holidays, I say, may your stocking be full of coal and may you be utterly alone on this and every day so no one else in the world has to suffer your bile.

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  4. AGAIN? It seems like AWS goes down once every two months, and takes half the internet with it.

    What is their uptime? 90%?

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    1. They have great uptime… and multiple geographic locations… when one location breaks the others typically are unaffected. Thus if companies like Netflix actually followed AWS best practices (which is to failover between locations) you would never notice an issue. Netflix being down is their issue, not Amazon’s.

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      1. Really… AWS best practices. Like AWS should have redunancy and failover built into it. It is the super cloud and it is crashing.. MAJOR FAIL

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      2. Not sure what their business agreement is but Amazon could be responsible for the fail over serves as well.

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      3. regardless if Netflix could make there applications more geographically resilient or not AWS is still down and Amazon does have an SLA for just a specific location. I am a Cloud Architct for an AWS competitor and perpetual outages like this even would not fly with any of my clients. A single outage is one thing but this is rediculas. I would have been fired over an outage like this.

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      4. Cannot agree with this. The vast majority of users in cloud environments sign up for high availability, and it is the host’s capacity, both with DC’s and support, to assist in proper configuration ( i cannot imagine netflix being completely unmanaged) and address high traffic spikes. The issue is at the level of the Load Balancer, which is a technology that does not address failover across DC’s. There are other companies (Rackspace, etc) who appear far better at assessing future risk to clients like this and can more reasonably ensure high availability.

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      5. the point of the ELB’s (Which are whats down) is to handle the failover. If the failover service is broken than you’re kind of screwed even if you do follow the best practices.

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      6. For Netflix specifically is failover actually viable? They’re at an extreme end of the bandwidth spectrum for a service, it would not surprise me if that leads to headaches using sites other than the closest to the customer, even though distance is typically associated with latency rather than bandwidth.

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      7. Ummm…ipsuid…no. “This is the latest in a series of high profile Web outages related to Amazon Web Services. In October, issues at AWS affected Reddit, Pinterest, Airbnb, Foursquare, Minecraft and other popular Web sites, while back in May, outages at AWS data centers took down Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix” (via tech-crunch)

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      8. I really like how my last comment was deleted. Not sure why. Maybe because I said something about Amazon AWS not being up to the task because of lack of failover and redunancy of service.

        Way to edit comments in the free speech USA.

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      9. Wowicannotbeliveit Tuesday, December 25, 2012

        Wow, that has to be the best customer service response ever….NOT. I hope you don’t work for AWS ;-)

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  5. it also said it was only down on some device.. well guess what I have 5 diffrent ones and it does’t work on any of them so upset

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    1. Yeap !!! Same here!!! All devices down for me

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      1. i have tried everything i have: a Sony Tablet running Android 4.1, an Asus Laptop on Google Chrome, Maxthon, IE, Safari, and Firefox, an Amazon Kindle Fire, an Iphone 4, and an Ipod 3.
        Nothing Works… =(

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    2. Works on my Wii U, but not my Android phone.

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    3. Hoping4miracle Monday, December 24, 2012

      SAme here …. So frustrating …. Hopefully we’ll get a Christmas miracle and it will all come back up.

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  6. Well, here we are all snuggled in at the son’s house, dog-sitting the granddog, had dinner, got the dessert, and sat down for a nice winter evening in front of the fire and NETFLIX. WTHeck. Wahhh.

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  7. It would be nice if Netflix actually said something when I go to their website rather than having to do google searches. My Roku also decided that only possible reason Netflix is not responding is because my network is broken and forces me to do a useless diagnostic!

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    1. My TV app tells me to “check my connnection” as well. Its a flashback to the old days on Earthlink. Overloaded servers telling you its Your fault.

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    2. Karen Strickholm Monday, December 24, 2012

      Good point, they should have a notice to members posted. HELLO, where are the PR/marketing people who should be handling that task?

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      1. Hey at least u can access the website I can’t even do that

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    3. Karen Strickholm Monday, December 24, 2012

      Hey Amazon: Continuing errors with the “Elastic Load-Balancing API in the US-East 1 region….”. Now that’s a mouthful! How about translating that from geek-speak into English for us rubes?

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      1. Sure
        It means NO NETFLIX FOR YOU and if you’re in the eastern region you’re even more f ed
        How was that?

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  8. Annoyed! When isn’t Netflix having issues?! I 2nd what the person above said… I’ve tried Netflix on 4 different devices with Netflix and NONE of them work. Good grief!

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    1. ITS DOWN! you can try 100 devices and it will still be down! gezzzzzzzzzzzzz

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      1. Kent M. Miller Monday, December 24, 2012

        It’s only down for some devices. my Wii and iPhone don’t work, but I’m getting Netflix on my laptop just fine AND I’m on the east coast.

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  9. Financialtailor Monday, December 24, 2012

    my heroku app is down as well, I had been racking my brain trying to figure this out.

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  10. I wish the error that popped up made more sense, it says, your internet connection is down. More like Netflix is fried. My intenet connection to VUDU works fine. Engineers working on the issue for over 7 hours now, wish you fix it fast to get home to your families for Xmas.

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