Earlier this week, Amazon provided details of the cloud server outage that brought down services from Netfix and others on Christmas Eve in the United States. It turns out a developer deleted data from the Amazon Elastic Load Balancing Service.
The company relies on the data to maintain and manage the configuration of the ELB load balancers, which lets Amazon track backend hosts for routing traffic. Deleting the data resulted in high latency and error rates for application programming interface (API) calls to manage ELB load balancers.
Amazon's team initially focused on the API errors because they didn't realize the data had been deleted. It took several hours for the team to realize missing data caused the problem. "The team was puzzled as many APIs were succeeding (customers were able to create and manage new load balancers but not manage existing load balancers) and others were failing," Amazon wrote in a post. "As this continued, some customers began to experience performance issues with their running load balancers."
Several changes aimed at protecting the ELB service from another disruption will not require approval before deleting data on its production ELB servers. The company acknowledges prior approval would have prevented the error.
Data will create a goldmine for companies this year in a variety of ways for major companies like Amazon, eBay, Google, Bing and Facebook. Wired points to an example from 2010 that's still relevant today. Facebook sent law student Max Schrems a 1,200-page PDF containing all the user data the company had on him relating to his account on his request in 2010, reportsWired. The PDF showed Facebook kept records of every poke, all machine IP addresses he had used to access the site, a history of messages and chats and data gathered from apps, IP addresses and geo-tagged uploads to pinpoint his location.
The recent post describes how Facebook continues to track behavior -- and what consumers can do to get back data based on the European Union data-protection directive. It's not clear if the process will work in the U.S.