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Amazon Web Services Outage Spells Trouble For MTA App Users, Among Others

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - If you had trouble getting to your favorite websites or apps Tuesday, you were not alone.

Amazon Web Services had a major outage Tuesday afternoon.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reports, even MTA riders were affected. The MTA app was out of service for much of the day, along with lots of other very popular apps.

Just in time for the busy evening commute, the MTA was hit by the latest Amazon Web Services outage. The agency said the outage affected its digital tools, and asked riders to check Twitter for service updates.

"It's usually up when I use it. So I've never had any problems with it," one commuter said.

Some of the biggest companies in the world use Amazon's cloud computing services. Ring, Delta, Netflix, Disney Plus and Venmo were reportedly affected, along with many others.

"A lot of companies, even if you think of these very big brands, they actually take their computing needs, their storage needs, their network needs, and they outsource them to another company," said Dan Ackerman, editorial director at CNet. "And it's rare that they have problems like this because they have a lot of backups and redundancies, and their whole business model is built around keeping things up. But when something does go down, you can have this ripple effect."

The outage started Tuesday morning. The East Coast was most affected.

So far, Amazon has not disclosed the cause, but experts say usually these problems are the result of a technical glitch or human error, not anything nefarious. Just a big inconvenience, for all of us.

"We're so used to having everything available on demand, instantly. It's easy to forget there's a huge infrastructure supporting the entire thing. And when something goes wrong with the backbone of that infrastructure… you lose track of the fact that that's going to take you offline, either for everybody, for a few people. We're all really using the same services," Ackerman said.

The MTA app and many others have come back online in the last couple of hours.

Nick Caloway contributed to this report. 

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