‘The cloud’ killed by real cloud

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The deadly storm system that hit portions of the mid-Atlantic and midwestern regions of the United States Friday downed major Internet sites like Netflix, Instagram, Pintrest and Heroku, all hosted in what is commonly called ‘the cloud.’

The storm — called a derecho — caused a regional power outage that was responsible in part for temporarily crippling major Internet services that are hosted by data centers based in Loudon County in Northern Virginia. The storm also cut off power to millions of people, caused extensive damage and left at least 13 people dead.

Loudon County is a major hub for U.S. Internet data centers, the largest being the Equinix data centers in Ashburn, Virginia. Over half of the world’s Internet traffic flows through data centers located in Loudon County every day, according to Loudon County’s economic development website.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has servers hosted by Equinix data centers, confirmed at 8:40pm PDT on Friday that power outages in the region caused by the storm affected its data centers. Netflix, Instagram, Pintrest and Heroku were among the Internet services reliant upon AWS.

An Equinix spokesperson told TheDC Saturday that the problem was not on its end, saying there were no outages at the data centers.

“We experienced utility disturbances at 3 of our DC-area data centers and shifted those sites to generator power,” said Equinix spokesperson Melissa Neumann. “Customers were not affected and two of those sites have since been shifted back to utility power.”

As of 3:30pm EDT on Saturday, Amazon’s AWS Dashboard was still listing numerous power issues in the Northern Virginia US-East 1 region. By Sunday, however, the power issues were resolved and the service was operating normally.

The Daily Caller’s server is hosted in the same Equinix data centers. The site began experiencing difficulties late Friday evening.

By the end of Saturday, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio had all declared a state of emergency.

This same region was hit by a major power outage one week prior, making it the fourth outage in the last 14 months for the region, according to

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