AWS went down in the US, but Ethereum kept humming
On June 13, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the leading cloud service provider, suffered a temporary outage lasting around three hours. Despite this interruption, Ethereum, which relies heavily on Amazon’s hosting, continued its operations unaffected.
The Outage that Shook the Web
At 12:08 pm PDT, AWS reported an investigation into “increased error rates and latencies” in various parts of the United States. Major news organizations, such as the Associated Press, were significantly impacted, preventing them from publishing articles.
Ethereum’s Resilience Amid the Chaos
Despite the reliance of 64.5% of the Ethereum network on Amazon hosting providers, according to Ethernodes, the Ethereum network continued to operate unaffected. Ethereum advocate Evan Van Ness was quick to note the network’s resilience amid the outage.
The Lido Factor
Van Ness also indicated that the impact of an AWS outage could be more significant if it occurred in Europe due to the high amount of Ether staked on Lido, a liquid staking platform heavily dependent on AWS. Currently, about 7.1 million Ether, or 35% of the total, is staked on Lido.
Criticism and Centralization Concerns
Ethereum has previously faced criticism for its perceived centralization, largely due to its reliance on the infrastructure provider Infura. Infura provides network nodes to various companies and organizations, many of which, including Lido, heavily rely on AWS for cloud hosting services.
AWS’s Response and Restoration
About 20 minutes after acknowledging the problem, AWS identified the root cause as an issue with a service called AWS Lambda, which allows customers to run code for various applications. Three hours later, at 3.37 PM PDT, AWS reported that all services were operating normally.
Dominance of AWS
According to Kinsta, a hosting platform, AWS dominates the market among cloud hosting providers, boasting a 34% market share. Given this dominant position, the resilience of Ethereum during such an outage is noteworthy but also highlights potential future risks.