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Fastly Outage: Widespread Disruption of Internet Sites

2021-06-08
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Fastly OutageSome of the world’s most popular websites, including the UK government’s main webpage, Amazon, PayPal, and Reddit, went down briefly Tuesday, confusing many internet users and disrupting business. The outage was linked to one company, Fastly, a content delivery network (CDN) and cloud-computing company used by many of the globes most prestigious businesses to operate their websites. Fastly’s edge cloud platform was designed to help developers “run, secure and deliver website applications” with more reliability and speed. The Fastly outage has caught many off guard, as most outages and downtime experienced lately has been due to cyber-attack, while the Fastly outage was simply that – downtime caused by a misconfiguration or minor issue. 

Who is Fastly? 

Fastly employs a cloud architecture called “edge computing” which improves the access and performance of web content by placing the computing power needed to process web requests and data nearer to users through a globally distributed network of servers. Users are provided the content they want from servers closest or least busy to them.  In techie terms, Mark Henry, Director of data protection and cyber security at DWF, a global law firm described Fastly’s role in a statement. “The intention of CDNs is to route (or distribute) internet traffic and services through ‘nodes’ in order to balance the load of traffic, prevent bottlenecks and result in high availability and faster content delivery. Requests for content are directed by an algorithm, for instance the algorithm might direct the traffic so that it routes through the most available or highest performing node, or so that the traffic takes the fastest network route to the requestor.”

Fastly Internet Outages

On Tuesday, Fastly reported outages starting around 6AM EDT for many of the internet’s most popular websites in North & South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, including Reddit, Twitch, Hulu, and The New York Times. Operations were restored by 7AM EDT.  Fastly’s CEO, Joshua Bixby, told the Wall Street Journal that Fastly had not suffered an attack, and that the outage had nothing to do with cyber-attack, but was due to a bad software update. 

Fastly Error CNN

Fastly Error UK Government

A Tweet from Fastly described the issue as “a service configuration that triggered disruptions.” Downtime like this has industry experts shaking their heads, as half the internet relies on the same services, meaning an issue like downtime, or even a ransomware attack, could force large sections of the internet we rely on daily, to go offline. Google went offline for just under an hour in 2020, putting businesses, students and users in a strange situation – what do they do without Google? Doomsday headlines like “The Internet is Broken!” flooded the news outlets that day. It’s hard to imagine a world without Google, and now we all know we don’t want to live in a world without Fastly!

Protecting Your Enterprise from Downtime & Outages

Downtime and outages are caused by a wide range of things. It’s not always cyber-attack. Server errors, poor maintenance of the network and other glitches can take a network out just as quickly as cyber-attack, ransomware or a natural disaster. The only thing business can do is be prepared. We can expect more of these types of outages in the future. The internet is not fool-proof and will always have risks, threats and glitches threatening our digital way of life. Redundancy and high availability need to be considered in network and cyberoperations planning.

Sangfor HCI Solution

On average, downtime costs $11,600 USD per minute, with large enterprises losing far more.  Companies who have experienced or want to avoid downtime deploy Sangfor’s Hyperconverged Infrastructure solution, HCI. By converging compute, storage, networking and security into a single software stack, Sangfor HCI provides the redundancy and simplicity of management enterprise needs on its best and worst days. 

Sangfor HCI is reliable and stable, with 0 RPO and 99.99% availability through high availability distributed architecture, integrated backup and CDP and multi-copy data redundancy. HCI also adheres to high-performance standards using data striping, SSD caching and tiering, data locality and database optimization. Finally, it’s simple to use and fully converged, offering unified management, resource visualization and automation and orchestration. 

For more information on Sangfor HCI, or Sangfor’s other suite of network security, cloud computing or infrastructure optimization solutions, visit Sangfor online, or email us directly.