One Company's account of surviving AWS failure

tl;dr: Amazon had a major outage last week, which took down some popular websites. Despite using a lot of Amazon services, SmugMug didn’t go down because we spread across availability zones and designed for failure to begin with, among other things.

We’ve known for quite some time that SkyNet was going to achieve sentience and attack us on April 21st, 2011. What we didn’t know is that Amazon’s Web Services platform (AWS) was going to be their first target, and that the attack would render many popular websites inoperable while Amazon battled the Terminators.

Sorry about that, that was probably our fault for deploying SkyNet there in the first place.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about how we survived (SmugMug was minimally impacted, and all major services remained online during the AWS outage) and what we think of the whole situation. So here goes.

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