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How Amazon Web Services outage impacted retailers


A good number of retailers were impacted when Amazon Web Services — the company’s most profitable division — experienced a four-hour outage on Tuesday.

The outage caused major headaches for millions of AWS customers, according to web monitoring and optimization firm Apica, which monitored the top 100 Internet retailer sites during the outage.

Fifty-four out of the top 100 Internet retailers were effected with a decrease of 20% or greater in performance. Three websites — Express, Lululemon, and One Kings Lane — went down completely, Apica said.

During the outage, average website load time went from a few seconds to longer than 30 seconds to load. Specific examples cited by Apica include:

  • Disney Store: 1165% slower to load;

  • Target: 991% slower;

  • Nike: 642% slower;

  • Nordstrom: 592% slower; and

  • Victoria Secret: 353% slower.

The outage did not affect Apple, Walmart, Newegg, Best Buy, Costco, or Zappos, which is owned by Amazon.

“Catching outages is difficult and almost uncontrollable, but implementing performance can pin-point whether images, video, third-party or servers go down,” said Apica. “Some of the companies above were able to spot-check and evaluate the performance of their site while down. This helped them generate a work-around or quickly use images from the local server.”
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