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Amazon apologizes for Christmas Eve outage that knocked Netflix streaming offline (update)

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Netflix Remote
Netflix Remote

Some Netflix customers were unable to stream movies and TV shows on Christmas Eve thanks to an Amazon Web Services outage. Now Amazon has issued a public apology for the downtime, readily admitting that the disruptions came at "an inopportune time" for its many clients. Though it stops short of mentioning Netflix by name, the company says it recognizes "how critical our services are to our customers’ businesses." Amazon has posted a detailed account of what caused the malfunction, which began at 12:24 PM PST December 24th at one of its eastern US facilities and ultimately wasn't resolved until Christmas Day.

After assessing the situation, Amazon has taken immediate steps to prevent the issue from repeating in the future. "We will do everything we can to learn from this event," the company said in a statement. The Christmas Eve incident combined with other outages earlier in 2012 have raised concerns over the reliability of Amazon's cloud platform — typically held in high regard for its persistent uptime and favorable cost to customers.

Update: Netflix is also today chiming in on the matter. In its own blog post detailing the outage, Netflix confirms that while PC and Mac playback remained functional, streaming on game consoles, mobile devices, and other hardware was hampered significantly. However, the company reveals that Christmas Eve is traditionally "a slow Netflix night," with customer usage spiking the following day. To that end, the company seems pleased that streaming was restored Christmas Day, though it too has pledged to work towards avoiding future disruptions.