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Netflix outage panics loners and insomniacs

America wishes it had held on to its VCRs
Wed Aug 20 2014, 11:18

netflix-logoNETFLIX HAS SEEN outages in many parts of the world, leading to a frenzy of social media panic.

The video streaming service was down during prime viewing time in many parts of the US, with the full extent of the outages encountered in all territories except Europe, which has its own servers, and where most people were in bed anyway.

The holding service that offers a choice of 10-20 titles from a backup server kicked into operation, leaving couples forced to experiment with talking with their partners for the first time in years, and singles stumbled blinking into the evening twilight to see if Blockbuster is still a thing.

The Twitterati was of course aghast at the news, tweeting pearls of wisdom.

Even deities were in a panic, apparently.

For it's own part, Netflix confirmed the outage.

The service appears to be up and running again now, and we've asked Netflix to comment on what went wrong. The service is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and it was a problem with the Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service that caused the last major outage at Christmas 2012. A day after a major outage for Microsoft Azure, it reopens the debate on the robustness of cloud services for business critical services.

The outage comes at a time when a decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the future of net neutrality is just weeks away.

In an article at Wired, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who has never been shy about coming forward on the issue, launched another attack on the big US internet service providers (ISPs), saying, "It's worth noting that Netflix connects directly with hundreds of ISPs globally, and 99 percent of those agreements don't involve access fees.

"It is only a handful of the largest US ISPs, which control the majority of consumer connections, demanding this toll. Why would more profitable, larger companies charge for connections and capacity that smaller companies provide for free? Because they can."

His comments come as Time Warner becomes the latest company to sign such a toll deal with Netflix for carriage, following Verizon, Comcast and, most recently, AT&T. µ


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