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Brief Fastly Outage Triggers Domino Effect, Takes Down Large Chunks of the Internet

By Anders Bylund - Jun 8, 2021 at 9:03AM

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A problematic "service configuration" crippled the leading cloud computing platforms, amplifying Fastly's error on a global scale.

A brief outage in services from content delivery network Fastly (FSLY -0.63%) knocked out a large portion of the internet on Tuesday morning. The outage started at 5:50 a.m., EDT and largely ended when Fastly found a fix 46 minutes later.

Fastly's outage affected a large number of online services around the world, including government websites and global news services of every stripe. In particular, streaming media platforms from Spotify to Disney's Hulu reported outages of their own in near-perfect lockstep with Fastly's issue. Even Netflix (NFLX 1.67%) experienced a higher volume of service failures during the 46-minute Fastly event, even though that company has its own global network of content delivery servers.

Netflix's presence on this list underscores the interconnected nature of the modern internet. Many of the world's leading cloud computing platforms also depend on Fastly's content delivery services and saw their issue reports spiking at the same time. Examples include Amazon Web Services, Alphabet's Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Any or all of these follow-on outages might have contributed to the user-facing problems on purportedly independent platforms like Netflix.

The first few dominoes in a very long line are falling.

Image source: Getty Images.

Fastly's status-tracking page said that a fix was found and applied at 6:36 a.m. EDT, explaining that some customers would experience a higher load on their original content servers as Fastly's network worked to repopulate its content databases. The company also sent out a tweet a half-hour later with a bare-bones explanation of what went wrong:

"We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs globally and have disabled that configuration."

More detail will surely emerge as consumers and IT managers everywhere seek assurance that this won't happen again. Stay tuned.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Anders Bylund owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Fastly, Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Fastly, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify Technology, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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