Amazon: Engendering Excitement and Questions about Failover and Reliability

December 8, 2021

Amazon’s big-bang conference is mostly a memory. I don’t think the conference announcements or the praise sung by the choir of Amazon faithful can top this story: “Amazon Packages Pile Up after AWS Outage Spawns Delivery Havoc.” The agility of the two-pizza method and the super duper automatic redundancy, failover ingenuity did not work. What’s affected? Just the foundation business of the online bookstore.

The write up states:

Three delivery service partners said an Inc. app used to communicate with delivery drivers is down. Vans that were supposed to be on the road delivering packages are sitting idle with no communication from the company, the person said. Amazon Flex drivers, independent delivery people who carry parcels in their own cars, can’t log into Amazon’s app to get assignments, said another person. The problems come amid Amazon’s critical holiday shopping season when the e-commerce giant can ill afford delays that could potentially create lasting log-jams.

Personally I don’t care too much about my deliver of household cleaner. I do worry that Amazon’s assurances for the existing GovCloud and the newly minted GovCloud West may suffer a similar meltdown. A failure to provide me with three bottles of Krud Kutter are tiny compared with fouling up top secret messaging and secured processes.

Concentration of online in the capable hands of a few technology behemoths makes sense to some MBAs. Efficiency, scale, better service, yada yada. The reality is reported in the start Detroit News’ story: Havoc. Marketing and conference talks are just easier and more exciting than maintaining a hugely complex system which is getting more difficult for some to believe in good, old Saint Bezos.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

Stephen E Arnold, December 8, 2021


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